Socialist Worker

Striking over holidays to win decent shifts

Issue No. 1933

IT’S 6am on New Year’s Eve morning in Longsight, Manchester, and three Amicus union members are stoking the picket brazier at the Alstom rail maintenance depot.

“We were out on Boxing Day, and we’re out again today—it means the managers have to come in,” says Adam (not his real name—Alstom staff have to sign a gagging clause).

The strikers want “family-friendly rosters” and progress on other issues such as implementation of a 35-hour week.

Two of the pickets have just come off the night shift. Between them the three men have 69 years experience on the job.

“We’ve had good support from shunters and store staff. They’re not working overtime when we’re on strike, though managers have put pressure on them,” Adam explains.

The pickets say Alstom are “asset-strippers” who deliberately move work away from depots, then label them uneconomic.

“When Alstom took over the Eastleigh depot down south, they sacked 700 staff,” says Adam. “Now they’ve just closed it, throwing another 500 out of work.”

The strikers got a good reception at the Amicus regional council in December. Activists want a meeting for Amicus stewards from other Alstom sites to discuss support for the Longsight strike.


OVER 100 electricians in the Amicus union at the Govan and Scotsoun BAE Systems shipyards on the Clyde were set to strike on Friday of this week.

The strike is against the disciplining of a worker following a dispute about a fire evacuation procedure.

The Amicus member challenged supervisors on the mishandling of the evacuation. BAE Systems has admitted its own supervisors have breached procedure.

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Sat 8 Jan 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1933
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