Socialist Worker

Protest at Two Sisters reps’ sackings

Issue No. 2174

Two Sisters workers protesting last Saturday

Two Sisters workers protesting last Saturday

Fifty nine workers and their supporters from the Two Sisters factory in Smethwick protested outside Marks & Spencer in Birmingham on Saturday.

Two weeks ago Two Sisters sacked 55 workers after they walked out in protest when a Unite union rep was suspended.

The company has now also sacked the Unite convenor and four stewards.

The protest was held outside Marks & Spencer because the company had approached Unite to work with it and Two Sisters to help build a new vision of “ethical model factories”. Marks & Spencer now has nothing to say.

Jack Dromey, Unite deputy general secretary, spoke at the protest. He said, “These 59 men and women are the breadwinners and the backbone of a community. They deserve better.

“The disgraceful sacking of 59 workers was triggered by a security guard hurling racist abuse at a shop steward. The shop steward was disciplined but no action was taken against the security guard.

“If racist abuse is unacceptable on the dancefloor, then there can never be BNP language on the shopfloor. Today commences a campaign which we will escalate until these workers are reinstated.”

Zohib Javid, the steward who was initially suspended, told Socialist Worker, “Being called a ‘Paki bastard’ shouldn’t happen in the modern day.

“Two Sisters boss Ranjit Singh has to let all the workers return to work.”

While protests like that on Saturday are excellent at pressur­ising businesses, Unite needs to immediately ballot its members if they are to stop this union-busting.

The protesters finished by marching up to join the protest called for pensions and jobs by the National Pensioners Convention (NPC), where they were received with cheers.

At the NPC protest, speakers from across the trade union movement pledged support for the Two Sisters workers and for the post strikes this week.

Over 300 trade unionists and pensioners joined the protest.

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Article information

Tue 20 Oct 2009, 19:31 BST
Issue No. 2174
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