WORKERS IN the press and paintline section at Raven Manufacturing near Burnley are continuing their series of one-day strikes over pay. Pay levels are appalling, with this group of engineering workers on just £5.80 an hour.
One of the pickets says, 'It's not just pay. There's no sick pay scheme, no pension scheme, holidays are only 28 days including bank holidays and the union is ignored. 'I've never known a company like it.' The factory turns out 18,000 Sky satellite sets a week, plus work for Nissan, Toyota and Ford, but company profits and turnover details are kept secret from the workforce.
The company says it cannot afford the 3 percent pay rise the workers are demanding. It wants a measly 1.5 percent rise to be financed by a weekly half hour cut in tea breaks. The struggle to unionise the factory and now the strike by a small section of the workforce is an inspiration to all workers who face low pay and bullying bosses.
The union was only recognised a year ago after an 18-month fight for recognition. The workers who started the union all got made redundant two months before recognition. Redundancies are linked to an appraisal points scheme where marks are given for a number of things including attitude.
The bosses drive Mercs, own villas in Portugal, and sail their yachts. The strikers need support to win. The workers' AEEU-Amicus union should campaign to win other workers in the plant to join the action and respect picket lines. Strikes are planned for every Monday, with picketing from 7.30am.
ENGINEERING workers at a Birmingham factory are striking every Wednesday to defend their pensions. The 100 TGWU members at Yuasa Automotive Batteries (Europe) held their first strike last week. Some 89 percent of the workforce voted for strike action when the bosses refused to withdraw proposals to axe the final salary scheme.
Eric McDonald of the TGWU union said, 'Our members have given the company many years of loyal service. Their loyalty has been totally disregarded by this announcement to end the final salary scheme.' Similar strike action at the Caparo steel plants forced the company to rethink its closure of the pension scheme.