Socialist Worker

Strike at Rhodia's pensions robbery

by Kate Coyne
Issue No. 1867

A SECOND day of strike action was set for Friday of this week by workers at Rhodia who are trying to save their final salary pension scheme.

Bosses at the chemical works want to close the scheme to new entrants and replace it with a vastly inferior money purchase scheme.

But the workers are having none of it.

They rightly believe if bosses get the go ahead it will spell the end to the final pension scheme for existing members.

A Rhodia worker told Socialist Worker, 'We are taking strike action because we felt that the company has left us with little alternative.

'We are trying to keep the final scheme open to new members as we see its closure as having a direct effect on existing members.

'If the deal goes ahead it will create a two-tier workforce. The balance will shift as more new people join the money purchase scheme.

'We believe the company will then try and close the scheme.'

The workers have already held a one-day strike in July. A third date is planned in mid-September if the bosses don't budge.

The strikers at Rhodia hit the headlines in July as they are the first group of workers in the country to take action over the closure of the scheme to new entrants.

The company has sites in Widnes, Cheshire, and Oldbury which is in the West Midlands.

The strikers are still angry at the way the bosses have treated them.

Management have even sent letters to workers' houses saying the company might be forced to make job cuts if the strike continues.

'Management virtually said, 'this is what is going to happen and this is the way in which it will happen',' said one Rhodia worker. That's not what I understand by a consultation process.'

But they are more angry about the potential effect it could have on their individual pensions.

Some people have worked at the company for over 20 years.

One worker added, 'The management have behaved terribly but we are still carrying on with our action and we are all as upbeat as when we started.'

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Article information

Sat 6 Sep 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1867
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