Workers at the Rollins Bulldog Tools plant in Wigan are on indefinite strike after bosses refused them a pay rise.
The company offered a miserly 1 percent pay deal—below inflation and effectively a pay cut—plus an extra day’s holiday. It comes after three years of short-time working and wage freezes.
This insulting offer received the response it deserved—an all-out strike, which began on Thursday of last week.
“We didn’t want to strike,” said one picket, “but we’ve been forced into doing this by the employers.”
The strikers are members of the Unite union. They make garden tools, including an exclusive range promoted by TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh.
Workers had agreed to defer pay increases for the past three years.
They also made sacrifices to their terms and conditions, including cuts in hours, to try to keep the firm going during the economic crisis.
They describe the bosses’ response to their efforts as a “kick in the teeth”.
Their case exposes the myth that if workers bend over backwards to be reasonable bosses will reward them.
It has also squashed the myth that the private sector offers a cuts-free alternative to the horrors that the blue and yellow Tories are pushing through in the public sector.
Debbie Brannan, Unite regional officer, said, “We were hopeful Bulldog would play fairly and fork out a pay rise for its loyal workforce.
“We’re not asking for the earth—we’re asking for a fair and reasonable reward for our members, who have helped the company survive the recession and we are determined to see that they get it.”
One picket sent this message out to others: “Stay strong and hold your nerve.”
Rush messages of support to the convenor John Duffy at firstname.lastname@example.org