Major trial of steel strength
THE BATTLE to stop pay and jobs cuts at a Sheffield steelworks hotted up this week as strikes spread to workers in another section. Workers at William Cook's IMF Foundry voted to join workmates from the firm's Heavy Foundry, who staged their third one-day strike last Thursday. Heavy Foundry workers were on strike again on Tuesday, with IMF workers set to walk out on Wednesday and a joint stoppage planned for Thursday.
The 60 workers from the Heavy Foundry have been on strike or locked out since Easter in a major battle over the threat of 120 a week pay cuts. Some 17 workers have now been sacked for refusing to sign a new contract, the fourth in the last two years.
Another 180 workers in William Cook's Greensand Foundry, who are not facing pay cuts, have also voted to ballot on action in support of their workmates. Action could also spread to other plants in the group across South Yorkshire, where workers fear they could be next in line for cuts. Workers have not had a pay rise for five years and went along with earlier pay cuts only a few months back.
Solidarity is the key to winning what is now becoming a major confrontation. Last week workers got an excellent response from delegates at Sheffield Trades Council after being invited to speak. Support now needs to be tapped at workplaces across the city, especially amongst steel workers at plants such as Corus where jobs are also under threat.
- Phil Turner