Socialist Worker

Rolls-Royce strikers are fighting for jobs

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2732

On the picket line at Barnoldswick

On the picket line at Barnoldswick (Pic: Unite North West )


Workers at the Rolls‑Royce plant in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, are continuing their fight against bosses’ plans to slash 350 jobs.

Unite union members at the aeroplane engine factory began a programme of industrial action on 6 November.

Originally due to end on 27 November, workers extended the action until Christmas Eve.

Sections of workers strike on different days across the plant.

And the fight for jobs is winning backing from lots of union branches.

Bosses want to offshore fan blade production to Singapore—a move many workers fear will lead to full-scale closure.

Christian, a Unite member who has worked at the plant for 14 years, says that people were “betrayed and lied to”.

“The company made promises nine or ten years ago when we were sent to train up people in Singapore.

Management said there would be what’s called dual sourcing,” he explained.

Disaster

“Apparently the plan was that if there was ever a disaster somewhere, you can carry on with production at the other place.

“So we were out there training them up, but now Rolls Royce wants to shut us down.”

Christian said the job losses and possible closure would have a devastating impact on the town.

“There are a lot of people from Barnoldswick who work here and there are a lot of firms in the area that are ­aerospace,” he said. “We could machine anything here, but they want to close the actual site.”

He added, “You go down fighting or take it and not do anything about it.”

One local resident added, “Generations of people have put so much into Rolls-Royce and it’s been the backbone of the town.

“There’s a lot of upset and a lot of ill feeling at the way Rolls have treated Barnoldswick.

“People are worried about the effect it’s going to have on the town, especially now we are faced with coronavirus and the lockdowns.”

Supporters of the People Before Profit group held a solidarity day with Barnoldswick strikers on Monday. 

Trade unionists, ­campaigners and socialists should raise solidarity for the Barnoldswick fight across the labour movement.

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