Socialist Worker

Rolls-Royce battle for jobs now has to escalate

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2734

Strikers are standing firm

Strikers are standing firm (Pic: Unite North West on Twitter)


Trade unionists and campaigners took part in an “overwhelming display of support” for striking Rolls-Royce workers in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, last Saturday.

Dozens of vehicles joined a car rally in solidarity with Unite union members at the aero engineering plant.

They walked out against 350 job cuts and offshoring of production in November.

Bosses escalated the ­dispute with a Christmas lockout at the end of last month, meaning the factory will remain closed until the New Year.

Mark Porter, Unite works ­convenor at the plant, told the rally, “We just need to keep up the pressure. We need to keep the faith, and Rolls‑Royce needs to get around the negotiating table.

Bosses say they’ve no alternative to shutting down production because ­coronavirus has hit the ­aviation industry.

But Mark told bosses at the rally, “And if it’s not engine blades we’re making, then what else is it we’re making?

“Because there is lots of work to be done.

“We are highly skilled people, we can do anything.”

Miles

Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said he was “in awe of our Rolls Royce reps, members and the community” after the car rally. “There were literally miles and miles of cars at the rally, I can’t wait to see the ­footage,” he said.

“Rolls-Royce is at the heart of Barnoldswick and has been in the town for nearly 80 years, its departure would be absolutely devastating to the town.

“What Rolls-Royce is ­currently doing is a complete betrayal of Barnoldswick.”

If Rolls-Royce bosses get away with their bullying in Barnoldswick, they will ramp up attacks across the company.

Their lockout has to be met by an escalation from the whole movement.

This could mean spreading strikes to other plants, with the union picking a ­workplace issue to ­manufacture a ­dispute over.

More action is needed to beat Rolls-Royce.

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