Socialist Worker

Strike at Chep UK in Pontefract

by Mary Black
Issue No. 2016

Workers at Chep UK in Pontefract struck for three days last week and plan a further five day strike over pay, sackings and the general attitude of management.

More than 120 staff from the pallet and container company took part in the action. Bill Chard, regional organiser for the workers’ GMB union, said, “A couple of months ago all the workers who had been at Chep for less than 12 months were called in and dismissed.

“Only eight days later they were replaced by Polish agency workers.

“We do not care where the workers are from, it’s the principle of the sackings that is unfair.”

Pickets said that although they were angry about the use of agency labour, it was the fact they were being used to undermine the existing workforce that was the issue, not the fact they were Polish.

Workers are also angered by a 1.5 percent pay offer, which effectively means a pay cut as prices are rising twice as fast.

Chep in Pontefract is part of a large multinational which employs more than 7,500 workers in 38 countries. Chep itself is part of the even larger Brambles group of firms.

It can easily afford to pay a decent rise and to reinstate all those it has sacked.

As the action continues, strikers will need solidarity from all levels of their GMB union and from local workers.

Collections and visits to the picket line can help the strike to win.

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Article information

Sat 2 Sep 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2016
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