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Has fightback saved jobs at Rolls-Royce?

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Issue 2737
Workers have struck for nine weeks
Workers have struck for nine weeks (Pic: Unite North West)

After nine weeks of strikes, workers at the Rolls-Royce factory in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, were voting this week on a possible deal to end the action.

Unite union members have been fighting a threat to 350 jobs and the possible ­closure of the site.

Unite suspended the strikes last week.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said, “This workforce, their union and this community have battled long and hard for a brighter future and there is now very real hope of this on the horizon.

“We are advising our ­members that this deal comes with the unanimous backing of the shopfloor leadership, which is an overwhelming reflection of this union’s ­confidence in the proposals.

“Every minute of the past nine weeks, this workforce, their friends and neighbours and their union have battled for a brighter future.” 


The details of the deal have not been made public.

But there are suggestions that management has offered a two-year commitment to no compulsory redundancies,

They have also said that there will be development of the site over the next decade that will boost jobs.

If these reports are true, then action and ­sustained strikes have secured much more than the failed ­campaigns at Ford Bridgend in South Wales and at Honda in Swindon.

At these purely ­propaganda action did not halt closure or imminent closure.

Strikes are always a more powerful response to job cuts than mere words.

However, the Barnoldswick offer stops short of protecting workers against all ­redundancies. It is still possible Rolls-Royce could push through rounds of voluntary redundancies that would gut the plant and reduce jobs in the area.

The very brave battle by Barnoldswick workers deserves to end with all the jobs protected and real certainty about the future.

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