Socialist Worker

Can window makers see their struggle through in Devon?

by Richard Bradbury
Issue No. 2561

Pickets in Paignton

Pickets in Paignton (Pic: Richard Bradbury)

Workers at Sierra Windows in Paignton, Devon, walked out on Tuesday for their latest three-day strike.

Next week will be the Unite union members’ twelfth walkout in the dispute over pay and the imposition of 12-hour shifts.

It could also be the last. Workers say union officials have told them that after 12 weeks the legal mandate covered by their ballot runs out.

They also say they cannot get an extension because—at the union’s suggestion—bosses now want to negotiate on the contested issues.

But negotiations are not guarantees. And this is a distortion of the anti-union laws. Workers are under no obligation to stop striking after 12 weeks.

Workers picketing on Tuesday morning were furious with their officials. One said, “It’s like we’ve been stuck under a shroud of silence by the union.”

But the workers refuse to be silenced. They are preparing to reballot over two new issues—bank holidays and sick pay.

They have already walked out unofficially on one day when the union didn’t give its official strike notice correctly.

Like other workers before them they are learning that sometimes fighting to win means confronting the union bureaucracy as well as the bosses.

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Tue 4 Jul 2017, 16:21 BST
Issue No. 2561
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