Meter readers began picketing at energy giant EDF’s building in Bexley Heath, south east
The 20 workers join another 12 who have been on strike at EDF’s site in
Workers are angry that bosses have broken agreements over pay. They want a 2.5 percent pay rise, as well as demands relating to regional parity.
A striker in Bexley Heath said, “They just want to cut our money while making us do more work. We’re just a number to them. We can’t afford to back down.”
It’s not lost on the workers that the same company ripping them off through pay is also ripping customers off with its eye-watering energy prices. Some pickets carried placards saying “EDF Energy, robbing you, robbing us.”
EDF has divided its workforce into sections to keep workers in power plants away from disputes involving other workers. But the growing queue of vans outside the Camden site shows the impact that meter readers and others can have. Though the strike there is small, other workers—including members of the GMB union—have been refusing to cross the picket line.
“It’s going well, as you can see,” Unite rep Tony Ryan told Socialist Worker. “We’re still picketing here and people aren’t crossing the picket line. And today it’s escalating beyond
Selective action is a strategy of bringing sections of the workforce out while others take action short of a strike. But one of the workers’ greatest strengths is their solidarity.
One striker, whose department could be called to return to a work-to-rule, said emphatically, “I won’t cross a picket line. Management can try and drag me across, but there’s absolutely no chance I’ll do it.”
Bosses are resorting to what are effectively lockout tactics to break this solidarity.
The workers refusing to cross the picket line at the
One told Socialist Worker, “Management could have given me my work at head office but instead they’ve chosen to leave me in limbo.
“They’ve done it on purpose, they wanted me to come to the depot so they could try and pressure us to break the strike.”
Despite lengthy talks at the Acas conciliation service on Wednesday, EDF has yet to make an offer that satisfies the workers’ demands. Unite has warned that it could escalate further if bosses don’t do better.
The workers’ resolve is strong—and if it is mobilised they can win.