Socialist Worker

Big picket line in Devon shows workers’ resolve to fight off hated new contracts

by Richard Bradbury
Issue No. 2558

Glass workers on the picket line

Glass workers on the picket line (Pic: Richard Bradbury)

There were high spirits despite pouring rain on the picket line at the Sierra Windows factory in Peignton, Devon, last Thursday.

Workers were on strike on Wednesday and Thursday of last week and were set to come out on the same days this week.

The dispute also involves workers at DB Glass in nearby Newton Abbott, both part of the largely non-unionised Specialist Building Products Group.

Strikers have given bosses notice that from Tuesday of next week they will step up strikes from two days a week to three.

This means they will hit Tuesdays, the firm’s busiest day for deliveries.


And it doesn’t come a moment too soon. Next Friday, 23 June, is the deadline the company has given them to sign up to new contracts—meaning lower pay and longer shifts.

The workers plan to keep fighting beyond that date, and have won support from other trade unionists in the region and beyond.

Unite union shop steward Peter Brown told a local newspaper that 29 out of 31 workers who voted for strikes joined the picket line.

“Of the two absent, one was on paternity leave and the other on holiday,” he said.

“The mood was quite chirpy. I was chuffed that the lads stayed on after completing a 12-hour night shift.

“That was great.”

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