Socialist Worker

Crane operators picket in high spirits

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2489

Unite, workers, strike, Ainscough Crane Hire

Unite union members struck (Pic: Dave Sherry)

Some 500 workers in the Unite union at Ainscough Crane Hire struck across all the company’s sites on Monday.

The Wilton chemical complex in Teesside was hit, as was the A1 motorway upgrade and repairs to the Forth Road Bridge.

Workers voted for a nationwide strike by 90 percent on an 83 percent turnout.

One striker told Socialist Worker, “We’re ready to keep striking to get them to listen.

“Ainscough are able to pay the top boss hundreds of thousands—they can pay us properly.

“We’re often miles away from our families and on call. We make this company millions.”


Rob Miguel, regional officer for Unite said, “The staff are at quite high risk of stress, diabetes and back complaints.

“These are incredibly large and complex vehicles we’re talking about.”

An overtime ban began on Friday night, with a series of escalating strikes starting on Monday and each week until March 23, across all the company’s depots.

Some workers held protests and meetings at company gates last weekend at the start of an overtime ban.

Unite said that, despite Ainscough making a£14 million profit last year, it had offered a “derisory” pay increase of between 2.5 and 2.75 percent.

Ballot for Co-op drivers in Coventry

Around 1,000 truck drivers at the Co-op retail giant are set to be balloted for strikes over plans to outsource them to Eddie Stobart.

The Unite union members work out of the Co-op’s national distribution centre in Longford, Coventry.

One worker told the local press it was a “kick in the teeth”. He added, “Eddie Stobart have a history of coming into a depot and after a couple of days putting you on 90 days notice after which you lose your job”.

It is also a bitter blow for Unite, which has strong links with the Co-op.

Unite says union reps offered “a comprehensive list of suggestions” to prove they could keep the work in-house.

Using lorry drivers’ immense industrial strength is the way to save jobs.

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Article information

Tue 2 Feb 2016, 16:30 GMT
Issue No. 2489
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