Socialist Worker

Glass workers in Gateshead are out to smash an insulting pay deal

by Jim Hutchinson in Gateshead
Issue No. 2408

Glass workers see through bosses claims of poverty

Glass workers see through bosses' claims of poverty (Pic: Sandra Hutchinson)

Striking workers at Tyneside Safety Glass marched through a Gateshead industrial estate today, Friday. Some 112 Unite union members have been on strike for better pay on Monday of this week.

After four years since their last modest rise, workers voted overwhelmingly to strike against bosses’ miserly new offer.

At first they offered nothing, then after negotiations offered a three year deal—but only if hours were increased. A subsequent offer was made at the last minute, which workers point out would have meant a pay cut in real terms.

Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown called it “paltry and insulting”.

Despite management protests that the price of glass and electricity had increased, the company still managed to pay £750,000 to the owner’s trust fund. The highest paid director got a 14 percent pay rise.

After a week of action, the lunchtime march was loud and lively. Strikers blew vuvuzelas to demonstrate their anger to other workers.

They marched from the toughened glass works to the bulletproof glassworks on the Team Valley Trading Estate—somewhere with a history of industrial action.

Local MPs Ian Mearns and Dave Anderson were among the supporters at the protest. Mearns pointed out that workers in Britain have suffered a 7 percent reduction in pay in real terms over the last five years.

Talks are set to resume next week, and the glass workers expect Unite to endorse another two weeks of strikes.

Send messages of support to Unite steward Mark Robertson at 07761421607

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Fri 20 Jun 2014, 16:16 BST
Issue No. 2408
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