Workers at aerospace firm Messier Dowty in Gloucestershire held a series of unofficial lunchtime protests last week over a threat of 77 job cuts. The protests were set to continue every day this week.
The 400 workers at the factory in Staverton, who make aircraft landing gear, are angry that the company wants to make redundancies when French owners Safran’s profits were £600 million last year.
The Unite union and management have been in negotiations for eight weeks with little progress made.
Bob, who has worked there for 32 years, feels ignored by bosses. “I am treated as if I don’t work here,” he told Socialist Worker.
Both members and non‑members of the union joined the protest, as well as French workers at the site, who said that redundancies are also happening in France.
The workers point out that there is still plenty of overtime available and lots of work is being subcontracted.
They believe management’s real agenda is to reduce the number of workers in the plant while working those remaining harder and faster.
Some 34 sets of landing gear are produced per month – the same as last year. There’s no decrease in work. At the end of this year it will be 36 sets a month, ordered by Airbus.
Management will be getting rid of skilled machinists and fitters but will be expecting those remaining to increase their workload.
After the first lunchtime action, management sent a letter to all workers putting pressure on them to stop the protests and stop publicising the dispute.
Bosses say they are putting their energy into organising “redeployment and mitigation activities”, as they call it.
Meanwhile, officially, the union is focusing on negotiating to get the same terms for both compulsory and voluntary redundancies.
The workers were planning to protest outside the factory every day this week from 12.30 until 1pm, and welcome solidarity delegations.