WORKERS AT the Wells Hinton plastics factory in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, were celebrating victory this week in their fight for trade union recognition. The shopfloor workers, all of whom are Asian, have been battling their bosses since last autumn. Sick of poverty pay and appalling working conditions, they all joined the GPMU print union. But boss Bob Povey refused to recognise the union.
Instead he brought in the AEEU union and signed a sweetheart deal. But the workers refused to lie down. Despite massive intimidation they balloted for strike action and last month gave notice of their intention to walk out and throw up a picket line.
This rocked Povey, who then entered into negotiations with GPMU officials. Last week he backed down, agreeing to recognise the GPMU. The union is now negotiating the terms of the recognition, including issues such as facility time for shop stewards. The AEEU is still recognised, but has no base in the factory.
The GPMU is hoping that the Wells Hinton victory will spur on other workers in the area and across the industry to fight for recognition. A Wells Hinton wor ker said, "The managers can't believe we have done it. They thought they could divide us but we all stuck together. "Everybody is happy and excited about what's happened. We're out to get what we want now."