Socialist Worker

Chemilines campaign shifts down a gear

by Anindya Bhattacharyya
Issue No. 2135

Plans for a three-day strike, a public meeting and a march by workers at the Chemilines pharmaceuticals firm in north west London have been put on ice.

The Chemilines workers, who are mostly Asian women, are fighting for a decent pay rise, for dignity at work and for laid-off staff to be reinstated. They have already held two one-day strikes as part of their industrial dispute.

The workers voted unanimously to escalate their strikes and publicise their cause with a march and public rally at a mass meeting held on Sunday 11 January.

A GMB union official confirmed to Socialist Worker that these plans would not now be going ahead. Details of the union’s next move would be released on Tuesday afternoon this week, the official added.

Meanwhile managers at Chemilines have laid off a further group of workers indefinitely, including one of the union reps involved in the strike. They claim the lay-offs are due to poor orders, but many workers believe they are designed to intimidate strikers.

A source told Socialist Worker that the decision not to proceed with a three-day strike was made last week at a meeting of GMB officials attended by GMB general secretary Paul Kenny.

Senior union officials argued that the Chemilines dispute should be resolved using a publicity campaign against the company’s owners, Ravi and Jagdish Karia.

It is not clear how this publicity-based strategy chimes with the decision to drop plans for a public rally and march to highlight the Chemilines workers’ case.

Watch this site for news of further developments in the Chemilines dispute


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News
Tue 20 Jan 2009, 18:49 GMT
Issue No. 2135
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