Socialist Worker

Still standing solid

Issue No. 1804

THE FRICTION Dynamics workers and their supporters marched through the North Wales town of Caernarfon last Saturday. The 87 workers, members of the TGWU union, were sacked over a year ago during an official strike. Friction Dynamics' owner, boss Craig Smith, used New Labour's anti-union laws to sack the workers.

A boss has the right to sack strikers after eight weeks on strike. Since their sacking the workers have kept up a 24-hour picket and campaign which has won massive support from the local community and the trade union movement. Hundreds of people lined the streets to clap and cheer as the march made its way through Caernarfon.

There were over 20 union banners from across Britain on the march. 'Smith wanted to bust the union,' Arthur Wyn Jones told Socialist Worker. 'We couldn't stand for that. This dispute isn't about money. It's about terms and conditions. Health and safety is non-existent in the factory now-one person's lost his hand since we went on strike. We are solid. If it lasts another year we'll still be here.'

The strikers are bitter and angry at the New Labour government. The loudest applause at the rally at the end of the march was when Bill Morris, the general secretary of the TGWU, said, 'How can our Labour government stand by for 12 solid months and do absolutely nothing for our 87 sacked workers?' The dispute is heading for an industrial tribunal court in October.

'Even if we win our case Craig Smith can still win,' says Roland Williams, as Smith will not have to reinstate the workers. The union leaders must turn their talk of solidarity into action. The TGWU should defy the anti-union laws and tell their one million members to refuse to touch any Friction Dynamics work.

Send messages of support and donations to Friction Dynamics TGWU, 7a Victoria Chambers, Crown Street, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 1SY. Make cheques payable to TGWU (Dispute Fund).

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Article information

Sat 15 Jun 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1804
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