Gearing up for Rover demo
THE ATMOSPHERE across the Midlands was electric this week as a groundswell of support erupted for Rover workers and the march to save their jobs. In Birmingham the main bus company was to put on free shuttle buses to ferry people to the rally, and fares for all its other buses in and out of the city were to be cut to 50p. Birmingham council has turned over billboards and poster sites to advertise the march. The local Evening Mail has produced window posters saying, "Don't let Rover die." Last week it printed page after page of names of people who rang in to pledge their support for Saturday's march.
Unions at the Evening Mail are derecognised. But members of the National Union of Journalists from both the Evening Mail and the Birmingham Post planned to meet on Saturday morning to march together to the demonstration. Chris Morley, NUJ branch secretary at the Evening Mail, says, "Everyone is outraged and questioning whether Labour has done enough." Birmingham UNISON was also urging its 19,000 members to get to the demo, as was nearby Sandwell UNISON. Workers at the Perry Barr day centre in Birmingham pledged last week that if Rover workers were to strike they too would walk out and join them on the picket line.
TRADE unionists from all over Britain were to travel to Birmingham to show their solidarity with Rover workers on Saturday:
- WORKERS AT Tempered Springs in Sheffield planned at least one bus to take them to the march. AEEU convenor Martin Hall says, "This is a lobby against the government. We're affected directly and indirectly. We've already been told 20,000 to 25,000 springs for car engines may be cut back. Rover is our biggest customer."
- AVESTA STEEL workers from Sheffield were organising a contingent.
- AT LEAST 150 workers from the Ford plant in Leamington Spa were to join the march.
- FORD DAGENHAM shop stewards were organising buses. "Our jobs are under threat too," says a shop steward. "We're backing this fight all the way."
- THE TGWU at Vauxhall motors in Ellesmere Port has plastered the factory with posters for the march and was planning a big delegation.
- WORKERS AT Pilkingtons Glass in St Helens have organised a bus.
- WORKERS AT Penn - Nyla textiles in Longeaton, near Nottingham, had filled two buses by the start of the week.
- WORKERS AT Goodyear tyres in Wolverhampton, where 2,500 jobs are at risk, were to join the march.
- SHOP STEWARDS at Turner Transmissions in Wolverhampton planned a big delegation.
- CIVIL SERVANTS in Nottingham had hired a double decker bus.
- AT ABRO engineering, Telford, the demo was announced over the works tannoy system. At Telford's STADCO engineering at least 100 AEEU members were to march.
- A TGWU bus from Llanelli, south Wales, was to pick up at the Ford plants. Another bus was to travel from the Rhondda. Remploy workers in Neath had booked a bus.
- The journalists' NUJ union and the postal workers' CWU in London both booked coaches to Birmingham.