RAIl GROUNDSTAFF at the EWS freight depot by the huge Corus steelworks at Margam in south Wales began a 24 hour strike this morning. They are fightng moves to cut the workforce in half.
The strike, by members of the RMT union, was very solid.
Engineering staff at the depot are also being balloted for industrial action over the cost-cutting redundancy plan, under which the arduous and dangerous shunting of heavy steel-wagons is proposed to be imposed on them.
'EWS's attitude to all its staff at Margam is nothing short of a disgrace, and our members are determined that these jobs will not be lost,' says RMT union general secretary Bob Crow.
'The company's plan to sack ten groundstaff is about cutting costs and maximising profits regardless of the risk, and no misleading business arguments can disguise that reality.
'The company intends to force the bulk of the shunting onto engineering grades who already have enough demanding work of their own to do, and they have now asked to be balloted as well to defend their safety and conditions.
'Their supposed criteria for selecting people for sacking include levels of sick-leave, but they are well aware that there is a high level of absence due to injuries sustained at work.
'Selection benchmarks that include 'dynamism' are almost certainly unlawful and we have referred their selection policy to our lawyers to mount a legal challenge.'
Messages of support to Timothy Jennnings, RMT steward, 34 Wern Road, Skewen SA10 6DN