By Steve Wilkins
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2788

Delivering a fightback at Sheerness docks

The fire and rehire plans hit jobs and workers' conditions
Issue 2788
Eight strikers with fists raised and banner from Medway Trades Council

Strikers supported by the trades council

Unite union members at Sheerness docks in Kent held their second strike day on Thursday of last week.

The action is in response to GB Southern Terminals imposing fire and rehire to cut 17 out of 27 jobs and worsening conditions of those remaining. The workers prepare VW cars coming off ships from Europe ready for distribution to car dealers. 

GB Southern Terminals won the contract from VW by making a cheap bid. Now they want to make the workers pay for its profiteering. 

Under the plans overtime premiums will be slashed to the basic rate and banked hours introduced. That would mean that Saturday working will not be counted as overtime. 

Also skilled pay rates will only be paid for the hours workers are actually carrying out the skilled elements of the job.

The strike is solid and car transporter drivers are refusing to cross picket lines. 

The workers are striking every Thursday through January but they planning to escalate to five days a week in February and March. 

GB Southern Terminals can probably cope with delays caused by one day a week strikes. 

But storage is likely to become a serious problem with five-day strikes so escalation is the right way to go to win.

If GB Terminals’ contract with VW is not renewed, employees would transfer to a new employer with terms and conditions protected.

 

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