Socialist Worker

Rolls Royce dispute — first blood goes to Jerry Hicks

Issue No. 1963

The fight to reinstate sacked Bristol Rolls Royce union convenor Jerry Hicks has received a big boost with an interim employment tribunal hearing ruling in his favour.

The “interim relief hearing” took place in Bristol on Friday of last week and found that “on balance” Rolls had sacked Jerry on “trade union grounds”.

But Rolls bosses still refused to reinstate him, though they have had to accept a legally binding “continuation order”. This means they have to maintain Jerry’s pay and benefits, backdated to the day he was sacked.

“This is a tremendous step towards victory,” said Jerry. “It is very rare for a tribunal to issue such a strong ruling at such a stage.

“But everyone at Bristol knows that it will take action to secure an outright victory, which means full reinstatement.”

After the hearing, Jerry’s solicitor Michael Simpson said, “Mr Hicks has been a prominent long serving and successful trade union activist at Rolls Royce for around 20 years and the company have singled him out for victimisation.

“This is an excellent decision by the tribunal and vindicates Mr Hicks’ consistent denial of the allegations throughout. This is a significant defeat for Rolls Royce.”

The result of a strike ballot by 100 Amicus union members in Jerry’s section, the test area, was due at the start of next week, with possible industrial action beginning a week later.

Messages of support for Jerry have poured in from across Amicus, the aerospace industry and the wider trade union movement.

“The union has produced a superb national leaflet,” says Jerry, who is also a member of the Amicus national executive. “There are encouraging calls for action across Rolls and for solidarity from across the aerospace industry.

“We need to keep the messages of support and invites to address factory committees piling in.”

The combine committee of convenors across Rolls Royce has called a national day of action, centred on Bristol, on Friday 26 August.

Reinstate Jerry Hicks rally

Wed 17 Aug, 7pm for 7.30pm, Council House, College Green, Bristol. Speakers include Tony Benn and Jerry Hicks. Called by Amicus.

For campaign updates go to Messages of support to Jon Locke at [email protected], copied to Amicus general secretary Derek Simpson at [email protected]. Send protests to Rolls Royce, 65 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AT.

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Sat 13 Aug 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1963
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