Workers at the Simclar Group, an electronic components firm in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, occupied their factory last weekend in protest at the company’s plans to close and asset strip the plant.
The workers, members of the Community trade union, are furious at the way they have been treated.
The occupation followed the announcement by bosses that factories in Irvine and Kilwinning would be closing immediately with the loss of 420 jobs. Workers arrived in Kilwinning to find the factory gates padlocked on Monday of last week.
At the same time those in Irvine were escorted to the canteen and told that they were being made redundant. They were then escorted off the premises by security guards.
The Kilwinning workers decided last weekend that they would occupy their plant and refused to be moved for more than 24 hours. Their friends and colleagues prepared food for them and passed it through the gate.
Scott Little, one of the Kilwinning workers, said, “I’ve been with Simclar since I left school 20 years ago. Now we are having to fight for the money that we are owed and are not getting. I’ve got two kids, one aged 17 and one aged seven and I’ve got no money coming in at all.”
Willie Paterson, Scottish regional secretary of Community, said, “Sam Russell, the chair of the Simclar Group, appears to have no shame about how he is treating the loyal, highly skilled workforce in Ayrshire – many of whom have long service with the company.”
Solidarity MSP Rosemary Byrne joined the workers inside the occupation. She told Socialist Worker, “The workers have been treated disgracefully and are determined to fight for their jobs and their rights.
“They are taking control of the situation rather than waiting for a useless government task force.”
Defiant after a night on the factory floor, workers left the plant in Kilwinning and then joined their colleagues in Irvine to stage a picket.
A number of security guards and drivers employed by the company refused to cross the picket line at the 100-strong protest. They resigned from the company rather than turn against their sacked colleagues.
Nan Wilson, one of the workers who occupied the Kilwinning plant, said, “It is a shame that New Labour politicians are posing at the gates for the TV cameras when they know it is their system of global capitalism that has led to us being sacked in the first place. They are hypocrites.”
Send messages of support and donations to Robert Ferguson, Community branch secretary, 64 Shore Road, Stevenston, North Ayrshire, KA20 3LP. Cheques should be made payable to North Ayrshire Community Branch Justice Fund