Rob Williams, Unite union convenor at the Linamar (ex-Visteon) plant in Swansea, south Wales, has been sacked. On Tuesday afternoon Rob had locked himself in his office and over 100 workers had walked off the line in solidarity.
Rob, a well-known trade union militant and socialist, was summoned before management and summarily dismissed on Tuesday morning.
The factory was formerly owned by Visteon until it was sold to the Canadian car parts manufacturer Linamar Corporation in 2007. The management say the dismissal was due to a “breakdown of trust and confidence.”
Rob told Socialist Worker, “It’s not accidental that this happens at the same time that Visteon workers are being attacked. It’s a disgrace that it is legal for these companies to act in such a way, yet those workers who are taking action to defend their convenor are supposedly breaking the law.
“The trade union movement has to stop pussyfooting around these anti-trade union laws and fight to defend workers. They should stop funding New Labour to the tune of £13 million every two years when they allow these Tory rules to remain in place.
“They’ve said that it is impossible to run the plant with me as a convenor. What they mean is it’s impossible to run a plant with a union that defends its members.”
Activists fear that Rob’s dismissal is just the next step in an attempt to close the factory. Around 140 workers have been made redundant in the past six months.
One Unite rep in Swansea told Socialist Worker, “Visteon farmed out Swansea to Linamar because they were worried the workforce would not take mass lay-offs lying down. Linamar sweetened the pill with big redundancy settlements for the first lot to go. Now it looks like they want to go in for the kill.”
The incredible solidarity received by Visteon workers taking action in Enfield, Basildon and Belfast shows that people across Britain are furious with the government’s inaction in the face of massive job cuts.
Every trade unionist must support Rob and the Linamar workers. An injury one is an injury to all – we need unity in the fight for jobs.
Workers were planning to protest at the site at 1pm today, Wednesday, against Rob's sacking. Rob told Socialist Worker, 'Management sacked me yesterday but, because of the protests by workers, they have now suspended that decision until a meeting at 1pm today.'
Workers will be demanding that Rob is reinstated immediately.
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