A one-day strike was staged by over 100 workers at William Freeman Ltd in Barnsley on Thursday of last week. The workers, members of the GMB union, plan a further series of one-day strikes in their campaign for a 4.5 percent pay rise.
The company, which makes rubber mats and hot water bottles, pays its workforce a basic rate of £4.24. That is just pennies above the minimum wage.
The company has not given a pay rise for four years. There has never been a strike at the factory before. One worker explained, 'We're talking 2002 here, yet I take home just £165 for working 37 and a half hours on nights.'
Madge Litherland, the GMB steward, said, 'The way we are being treated is disgusting. Workers have had enough. The strike is completely solid. Even non-union members have not gone in. We've got the management rattled - they even called the police to the picket line this morning!'
Large, lively picket lines got excellent support from passing traffic. An especially big cheer went up as a fire engine from the local fire station went past hooting its horn. The workforce are determined to continue fighting until they have won pay justice. There will be pickets lines again next week.
Send messages of support and donations to Madge Litherland, GMB, 10 High View, Royston, Barnsley S71 4LS.