With Unite union flags flying and a sound system blaring in defiance, 200 striking car workers in Oxford showed how to respond to the cost of living crisis. The Rudolph and Hellmann workers, who handle components for BMW’s Mini plant in Cowley, struck for higher pay on Tuesday
Around 100 workers mounted a picket line in the morning and created an atmosphere of militancy—and the same number of pickets turned out in the evening. They have already caused significant disruption to the production line—and plan to strike again on Thursday and Tuesday and Thursday of next week.
Unite membership has increased during the dispute as workers realise that the union can make a difference.
Workers are angry at bosses’ determination to defer any pay increases. A common response on the picket line was, “We don’t want it tomorrow or the day after we want it now.” One striker, Camilla, told Socialist Worker that she was striking for her future and an above-inflation pay rise.
The strike is multiethnic and diverse with black and white workers united. And—though it’s predominantly male—young women were central to the strike.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “It’s not acceptable for BMW to be making profits off the backs of low paid supply chain workers Rudolph and Hellman. BMW needs to come back with a fresh deal that reflects our members rapidly rising living costs.”
Every socialist, trade unionist, and campaigner should build solidarity for the Cowley car workers.
Reports from disputes around Britain
Security services were involved
Move will increase police racism
Johnson could enrage all sides