Socialist Worker

BAE Systems union shows how to kick management ass

by Software engineer, BAE Systems, London
Issue No. 1885

We are a small group of Amicus union members trying to organise our site at BAE Systems in London. The workforce is white collar, with no trade union tradition.

The company is moving site to Luton, and wanted new contracts. This included a clause that would allow unlimited overtime without pay. A rider also allowed them to change any aspect of the contract at a whim.

A wave of opposition swept the site, and we decided to organise a campaign encouraging people not to sign up.

Our first bulletin to members appeared all over the site as other workers enthusiastically supported the campaign. Two thirds of the 1,000-strong workforce refused to sign the contracts. This was followed with further deadlines and threats. We responded with a series of workplace bulletins and meetings.

With hundreds refusing to sign up to the new contracts, the company caved in to every demand three days before Christmas.

The union is now on the map and people are joining up. Our recruitment campaign for union recognition began in earnest this week.

A young engineer summed up the new mood, saying, 'We really shafted the company over the contracts – Amicus kicks ass!'

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Article information

Sat 24 Jan 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1885
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