Socialist Worker

BRC Manufacturing workers strike in Barnsley

by Dave Gibson
Issue No. 2263

Some 60 members of the Community union at BRC Manufacturing in Barnsley walked out on a four-day strike from Thursday of last week.

They are striking because the company, which manufactures steel rods and mesh, has not given them a pay rise in the past two years.

CELSA, a Spanish multinational firm, took over the firm then.

Anger has been growing because the workers are confident that their plant is profitable for the company.

Steve Smith, the Community branch official, said, “In the last year we’ve achieved 100 percent union membership on the shop floor. That tells you something about how people are feeling.”

The strike was solid and the mood upbeat and determined.

Up to 20 strikers picketed at a time. It is the first time this plant has seen a strike, although they have organised successful action short of a strike before.

Stuart Haigh said, “It’s not just about the money. It’s about the way people are treated. We’re not valued.”

Another striker explained that the company is trying to reduce expenses in every way possible—cutting back on tea, milk and sugar and using cheaper toilet roll.

A young striker said, “We went with a list of 17 demands apart from pay to our management.

“They said no to the first three, then put a line through the other 14!”

The workers are determined to force management to negotiate seriously and were to decide on whether further action is needed this week.

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Article information

Tue 2 Aug 2011, 17:38 BST
Issue No. 2263
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