Socialist Worker

Solidarity at Harwich Express

by Richard Allday, chair drivers’ committee
Issue No. 1983

The 30-strong vehicle fleet of Harwich Express Freight Services was immobilised on Monday by a gate meeting called by the drivers’ committee in defence of a driver temporarily unfit to drive.

He had been working in the warehouse and yard for three weeks. But management, who say they want “a less compassionate culture”, called him in the day after New Year and told him that if he couldn’t drive he was on statutory sick pay, a drop of £250 a week.

The drivers unanimously voted at the gate meeting that if management didn’t come up with an acceptable solution there would be another stoppage next week.

The solidarity, after some early misgivings, was phenomenal as indicated by the 100 percent vote for the further gate meeting if necessary.

We are deeply appreciative of the messages of support from unions as wide ranging as Wiltshire FBU and Doncaster Unison.

Management’s reaction was to threaten me, as chair of the drivers’ committee, with disciplinary action for alleged intimidation.

Just because they get drivers to move by cracking the whip they seem to think that is the only way that drivers react.

We are now fighting to achieve the more than 50 percent union membership we need to win recognition.

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Article information

Sat 14 Jan 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1983
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