Bullying managers trying to rip up longstanding agreements with workers. Bosses trying to impose harsh new contracts without union agreement. Workers told that they have to take job and pay cuts, and accept that they won’t be getting the pension they’ve been paying into for years.
This scenario is being played out in workplaces across Britain. It will be familiar to post workers, firefighters, BA cabin crew, bus workers and call centre workers – to name but a few.
In South Elmsall, a former mining town in Yorkshire, one group of workers is fighting back. Superdrug workers at the town’s warehouse responded to management attacks with an all-out, indefinite strike – and the action has sent ripples across the county.
“They always ran the warehouse with bullyboy tactics,” said striker Susan. “I don’t think they ever expected us to walk out.”
“A lot of big companies are using the recession as an excuse to attack workers,” adds Tony. “They say they want to save cash but managers are getting loads of money. Why should it be us taking the cuts?”
Superdrug bosses want to impose a raft of attacks on the workers and have threatened them with the sack – but strikers are undeterred. Managers told the workers that they would wreck the company if they struck – the same line that was spun during the post strike.
“We came out on indefinite strike to show the managers that we mean business,” said Tony. “There seem to be more strikes happening now but there are still a lot of workers just taking it. If more people struck it would be better.
“If we’re out till Christmas then we’re out til Christmas. We won’t just roll over and give in.”