OVER 430 members of the Amicus union were on strike at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, South Wales, on Thursday of last week. Some 70 workers picketed the plant.
The action followed a dreadful pay offer linked to changes in working practices. The strike signalled a move to weekly action after a series of one-day strikes.
Management enforced a pay freeze in 2002 and 2003. They have now offered 1.5 percent from July plus £400, then 1.5 percent from October, and then 2.5 percent plus £400 in July 2004. This does not even cover inflation.
Management also want to annualise hours, cut allowances and tea breaks and switch to monthly pay. One striker said, 'These conditions were won over many years. Once gone they are gone forever.
'The loss of allowances would cancel out the pay rise for some members,' explained another striker.
Members of the PCS and Prospect unions in the plant have already settled their own pay claims without 'strings' for this year. Amicus members want PCS and Prospect members to black their work on strike days.
They are asking them to show solidarity by doing their normal work but not the strikers' work. Gerald Sheehan, the chief executive at the Mint, worked at Allied Steel and Wire, whose Cardiff workers lost their pensions when the company closed. Sheehan managed to save one pension though-his own, at £62,000.