Socialist Worker

Escalation and wider support are now vital for Ambala Foods strikers

by SENAN MORTELL
Issue No. 1954

Ambala workers during their first two-day strike celebrate after turning away a delivery of flour to the factory. Now the T&G must step up the solidarity (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Ambala workers during their first two-day strike celebrate after turning away a delivery of flour to the factory. Now the T&G must step up the solidarity (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Workers at Ambala Foods in Stratford, east London, struck for two days last week.

Some 45 Asian workers at the factory, which produces Indian sweets for restaurants and shops, have been taking action over low pay for several weeks.

Two weeks ago they moved from one day action a week to striking every Thursday and Friday.

The workers, members of the T&G union, are fighting to win an extra £50 a week pay to make up for three years without a pay rise.

One of the workers, Mr Butt, told Socialist Worker that the escalation in action was justified because management was not listening. Increased action was the only way to make them take notice, he said.

His view was shared by all the workers on the picket line. Another worker explained how cards were being handed out to customers at Ambala shops as a way of raising the profile of the dispute.

Although the strike has been militant and active, with dozens of workers assembling outside the Stratford factory each week, there are concerns about other Ambala sites, where workers are not striking.

This includes the other main Ambala factory in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

But in a positive development, the strike is winning solidarity from other unions.

T&G union rep Lokon met tube worker reps from the Stratford No1 branch of the RMT union on Thursday of last week. He explained why the Ambala workers were on strike and about some of their experiences during the dispute.

He was well received and the branch gave £50 to the strike fund. It also agreed to circulate collection sheets and to send a motion to the London RMT executive to support the workers.

Lokon said that meeting another group of trade unionists gave him confidence in the ability of the Ambala workers to win.


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News
Sat 4 Jun 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1954
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