By Barry Conway
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Chep UK strike targets companies that use their pallets

A magnificent picket saw around 70 Chep strikers together signalling a determination to continue their strike
Issue 2797
At least 35 Chep strikers and their supporters are pictured standing on a picket line with union banners

Chep UK strikers held a mass picket last week

Workers at Chep UK pallets in Greater Manchester remain solid in their pay fight. Strikers have been out over pay since December and reballoted last month—with a 94 percent Yes vote for action that was higher than the original ballot. A magnificent picket on Wednesday of last week saw around 70 strikers together signalling a determination to continue their strike.

Plans are now being made to target Chep’s customers with banners and flyers. The national union leaders need to turn up the pressure on these customers through their workforces.

The pallets Chep makes need to return to the factory for inspection and maintenance. That isn’t happening, so issues of health and safety should now be raised. Last Friday Chep strikers turned out in Liverpool to protest against the jobs massacre of P&O workers and show solidarity. Since talks with the union a few weeks ago, bosses have gone quiet.

Strikers say they haven’t been shown any respect by the company. Despite saying they want to resolve the dispute, bosses have offered other depots increased pay to use as leverage against the strikers.

But support for the strike “has been amazing” with people dropping food off, beeping their horns and pulling up to make donations.

  • Donations to Unity Bank NW/1 Strike Fund. Sort code 60-83-01 Account 20217873

Strikes begin in Lerwick, Nottingham and York

Supermarkets could face shortages of Pork Farms products during a continuous all-out pay strike by more than 170 workers employed at Nottingham’s Riverside Bakery.

Staff earning just above the minimum wage, who are in the Unite union, were set to strike from next Monday over a pay cut disguised as a rise. The offer would leave staff worse off by reducing overtime, bank holiday and premium rates.

Riverside Bakery produces quiches, flans and savoury tarts sold by major supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Marks and Spencer.

Workers at Valeo, manufacturer of Poppets, Fox’s Glacier Mints and Mint Humbugs struck over pay on Monday of this week. Dozens of GMB union members working at the factory in York are in a dispute over pay and ongoing attacks to their terms and conditions. Bosses have so far refused talks with GMB officials.

Workers at the Lerwick Port Authority, the main port in the Shetland Islands, are set to strike next Monday over pay, terms and conditions.

For a number of years, despite the prosperity and expansion of the port, skilled and semi-skilled workers have been paid considerably less than nationally agreed rates.

Transpennine train conductors continue to strike for pay. They fight on as the RMT union warns that the government is hard-wiring profiteering and attacks on staff into its revamped rail privatisation model.

Reports suggest that FirstGroup will be awarded an eight year extension to its National Rail Contract. Under the terms of the new contract, firms are expected to push through attacks on staff numbers and their terms and conditions.

Strikes have been well supported each Sunday across Transpennine services.

The result of a survey asking civil service workers if they’re ready to strike over pay and pensions was set to be announced as Socialist Worker went to press.

The consultative ballot of PCS union members ended on Monday of this week. The PCS said earlier this month that turnout in the survey was close to the 50 percent threshold that anti‑union laws demand in a formal ballot.

That means the union should build on the survey immediately to launch a real strike ballot.

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