Socialist Worker

Premier Foods workers in Wisbech continue to strike for fair pay

by William Alderson
Issue No. 2189

Picketing at Premier Foods

Picketing at Premier Foods

Around 250 workers at Premier Foods cannery in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, struck on Thursday and Friday of last week and on Tuesday of this week over pay.

This was their fifth day on strike so far.

Nearly all of Premier Foods’ 70 British sites have settled over pay for 2009. But workers in Wisbech have received nothing.

Unite union convenor Mark Plumb told Socialist Worker, “We are low-paid. The rates range from £6.57 an hour to £8.12 an hour with most people on just over £7. We’ve had no pay rise for last year – while managers got up to 2.5 percent from April.

“Management’s strategy seems to be to starve us back to work. But we’re still very determined.

“The factory general manager ‘left the business’ after the first day of the dispute. We would very much welcome support from other trade unionists.”

As the dispute has gone on, managers have called workers into their offices for one-to-one “chats”.

Some in their probationary period say that bosses have suggested that going on strike would count in the decision about keeping them on.

Some strikers have cracked under the pressure and returned to work.

But Unite also reports that some who have crossed the picket line are now thinking of coming out again.

Reps are planning a public meeting in Wisbech to consolidate local support.

Send cheques and messages of support to: Mark Plumb, Unite Convenor, 19 Kingsley Avenue, Wisbech, Cambs. PE13 2PD. Cheques should be made out to “10-671 Wisbech Branch” with “Premier Strike Fund” on the reverse.

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Tue 16 Feb 2010, 18:13 GMT
Issue No. 2189
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