'WE ARE making a stand for what we believe is right.' That was how one worker at the Metzeler car components company in Coalville near Leicester described their battle over pay. The workers, members of the Amicus union, have held a one-day strike every Monday for the last four weeks.
Metzeler has 30 plants worldwide, is a leading supplier to the US and has a global turnover of $900 million. Yet it is refusing to give 16 engineers a decent pay rise. 'This dispute is only about 73p an hour in a two-year pay deal,' says the worker. 'We're on £8.27 an hour and want £9. The company says it has no money. Yet they have just taken on three new managers.'
Most of the workers in the factory, around 500, are members of the TGWU union. They voted narrowly to accept their pay deal. But the engineers in Amicus are fighting on. They have an important role inside the factory, doing vital maintenance on the machines.
'We are having an effect. More machines are breaking down,' said the worker. 'We have support from ordinary TGWU members. There was good feedback when copies of an article in Socialist Worker about how the TGWU and Amicus had joined together over action at Land Rover got round the work areas. Posters went up saying 'We should be out with the engineers'. But the TGWU members feel their hands are tied.'
Metzeler is a typical of greedy, bullying multinationals. The 16 engineers who are standing up to the company deserve support.
For messages of support and more information, phone Amicus shop steward Mick Troth on 07789 053 750.