Socialist Worker

24 hour pickets in the battle of Bootle

Issue No. 2294

Workers at the Mayr-Melnhof Packaging (MMP) factory in Bootle, Merseyside, are continuing their fight against job cuts and a management lock-out.

The workers, members of the Unite union, have been locked out for more than three weeks after bosses announced plans to impose 49 compulsory redundancies. Workers briefly occupied the site in response.

Now they are picketing 24 hours a day to stop bosses removing stock.

Graham Manley, a Bootle worker, told Socialist Worker, “A few reps went to Germany last week and spoke to MMP reps there.

“We think bosses have moved some of our work over there—and reps in Germany agree that this should be stopped.

“Union reps are now taking this to their workplace meetings to say that they shouldn’t handle our work.”

John Scully, another worker, added, “The thing is to stop the work we do being done on the continent.


“We’re hopeful about doing that—and if we do, that will really upset MMP’s customers.”

Bosses put an offer to workers last week.

But this included the compulsory redundancies plus other new attacks—and workers overwhelmingly rejected it.

Now bosses have sent letters to some workers threatening them with gross misconduct charges over the occupation of the factory.

“This has just strengthened our resolve,” said Graham. “They are trying to pick people off but it isn’t working.”

John said, “I’ve had a letter threatening disciplinary action. It says I’m guilty of using foul, abusive and threatening language, and of violence. I’m challenging it.

“They say we carry metal bars—but really we are carrying flags.” He added that the letters hadn’t cowed workers, saying, “It’s as solid as ever here at the moment and the mood’s great.”

One Unite member at the plant said, “Nothing’s gone out of the site.

“Management have asked us to allow a couple of empty trailers out, which we’ve agreed as a gesture of goodwill.

“But we’ll be checking them before we allow them to leave.”

Workers at an MMP site in nearby Deeside are currently balloting on whether to join the dispute.

More visits to MMP sites in Germany, France and Austria are planned for this week.

Send messages of support to [email protected] and ask for speakers for your union branch. Send donations to Sogat Process Fund, account number 50823171, sort code 20 10 84

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Tue 13 Mar 2012, 18:13 GMT
Issue No. 2294
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