Locked out workers at Mayr-Melnhof Packaging (MMP) in Bootle are stepping up their action after a “disgusting” offer from management.
The workers, members of the Unite union, have been locked out for more than two weeks since the company announced 49 compulsory redundancies.
Its redundancy package was thousands of pounds worse than that offered in previous rounds—and included an unfair new selection method.
Workers voted by 138 to 1 on Monday of this week to reject a new and even worse deal. The offer involved the 49 original layoffs plus voluntary redundancies and the threat of disciplinaries.
“People were filling in voting forms before the union officers had even spoken,” MMP worker John Scully told Socialist Worker. “They were just sick about the offer.”
Now the workers plan to escalate their action. “We’re in for a ‘battle royale’—no doubt about it,” said John.
Workers are moving to 24‑hour picketing to prevent bosses from moving £1.75 million worth of time sensitive stock from the factory.
And Unite members at MMP’s site in Deeside are set to vote on whether to join the Bootle dispute.
“The workforce has to stay strong and stay together,” said Graham Manley, another Bootle worker. “The bosses have always tried to keep us separate from Deeside. But now we can make this one fight, one issue.”
Mark Hodges added, “We’re very angry. We’re totally united and we have a chance of winning this. We know the supply chain is stretched very thin.”
A delegation of Bootle workers plans to visit MMP unions in France and Germany this week to encourage colleagues not to handle their work.
Bootle workers also plan to tour the company’s clients, such as Kellogg’s and Unilever.
Kellogg’s workers in Manchester and Wrexham report severe shortages that have brought production levels down to less than 20 percent.
“It could end up with people not getting their breakfast cereals,” said Mark. “Plus we have a lot of friends in Europe.”
Mick Jones, another Bootle MMP worker added, “What we learnt is that we are the ones who control the factory. They learned that too—that’s why they locked us out.
“We’ve got to learn from what the sparks have done. ”
MMP workers need the support of the union movement. They have a real chance of defeating their bosses and striking a blow for the whole working class.
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