PRODUCTION workers at London Taxis International (LTI), manufacturers of the 'London Taxi' in Coventry, walked out on all-out indefinite strike on Tuesday of last week. They are sick of year on year below-inflation pay deals and dragged-out pay negotiations. The strikers are in the TGWU and Amicus unions.
The company were left in no doubt about the workers' serious mood for action on Monday. In response to management's complaints about the time the union meetings were taking, all 200 workers walked out to reconvene the meeting at the TGWU's Transport House office in the city centre.
The company's first offer, back in May last year, of 2 percent on pay tied to the imposition of monthly pay and annualising hours, was rejected in the first ballot. A second offer of 2.9 percent with no strings was also rejected, as was the unions' recommendation of 3.1 percent pay with no strings.
After a ballot result of 86 percent for industrial action and no improved offer from management, workers struck and increased their pay demand to 4 percent with no strings. LTI workers are angry at bonuses two top managers in the group gave themselves. They were of £80,000 and £60,000 each.
Steve, one of the strikers, said, 'They're just arrogant. There's been complaints about pickets being intimidating. Management intimidate people every day of the week.' Another said, 'You get to the point where you don't want to stomach what they dish out.'
TGWU steward Ray Peevoir reported that, with the exception of a couple, everyone wanted to volunteer for picketing. While we were there, a delivery lorry was turned away and we were told postal workers were not crossing the picket line. A mass meeting has been called for Wednesday of this week at 11am at Transport House to be followed by a mass picket outside the plant on Thursday.
Joe Varney and Gail Drew
Send messages of support and donations to John McGee, Convenor (LTI), c/o Transport House, Parkside, Coventry.