Defence Support Group (DSG) workers are making bosses sweat with their ten-day strike for pay, ending on Friday of this week.
DSG Unite union convenor at Bovington in Dorset, Rod Thompson, told Socialist Worker, “It’s just gone from strength to strength. There are now 777 of us on strike.” That’s 10 percent more than when the dispute started.
Bob, at the Warminster site in Wiltshire, said that dismissive comments from Ministry of Defence (MoD) bosses had only stiffened the workers’ resolve.
DSG workers maintain and repair military vehicles and equipment for the MoD.
The dispute is at a crucial stage. Reps are set to meet on Wednesday of this week to discuss the next steps. Many workers want to escalate.
Last week they roundly rejected an offer from bosses—a £750 productivity bonus in exchange for calling the strike off.
It showed bosses’ desperation. If the bonus is real it should belong to workers already—and it’s no substitute for a consolidated pay rise.
Ronnie Simpson, Unite convenor at Stirling in central Scotland, said “I asked the guys if they wanted to continue the strike and every worker raised their hand in support.
“We need to escalate. The MoD does not know how to deal with ongoing strike action and they certainly won’t want indefinite action.”
Workers at Donnington told Socialist Worker that workers’ involvement in strike organisation is crucial.
Vehicle mechanic Rob Jarvis said that getting everyone down to the picket line “keeps people together, and gives them a focus if they don’t know what to do when they’re on strike.”
Shop steward Steve Wilson said, “Everything’s been voted on in mass meetings. That’s why people have taken ownership of the dispute and delivered big picket lines.”
Lead steward Paul Eagles agreed. He said, “The other thing that’s been critical is having a vision of what’s happening next.”
Workers everywhere told Socialist Worker they were ready for more action.
As Chris in Stirling said, “We have no choice but to carry on the fight.”
Rod said, “We’ve been shutting their sites across the country. Let’s keep up the momentum.”
Solidarity is crucial to dispute's success
The DSG strikers have been gathering support all over Britain—not least from public sector workers who can see the potential for breaking the Tories’ pay freeze.
In Bovington, donations from the Dorset Socialists and the Labour Party have paid for Christmas boxes for workers’ children.
Warminster DSG reps have been invited to speak at a meeting of Bristol council union reps.
Telford trades council held a solidarity day, donating £1,000 to the workers, distributing Christmas gifts at the Donnington picket line.
The strikers need your support.
Their example can inspire other workers to take action.
Rush messages of support and donations to them, and invite strikers from your nearest strike to talk at a workplace or campaign meeting.
To get in touch with the strikers contact firstname.lastname@example.org