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Angry workers strike over pay freeze and bosses' bonuses
On 27 July, for the second time in less than a week, workers at Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems based in Coventry went out on a 24-hour strike as well as imposing a continuous ban on overtime.
Lenny Shail, Coventry Socialist Party
A shop steward at the factory commented: "I've worked here 30 years and this is the first time I've been on strike, I wasn't really sure what to do! But when you're pushed, you react.
They have already started regrading our jobs, which is basically a pay cut through the back door."
Despite the company making £494.2 million in gross profits in 2009, bosses have attempted to impose a pay freeze on the workforce in Coventry.
The workforce made Meggitt's profit, yet bosses are awarding themselves huge bonuses on top of their massive salaries.
Meggitt chief executive was awarded a bonus of £770,000 plus shares, on top of his salary of £600,000.
Two other senior managers with salaries of £360,000 and £272,000 got bonuses of £463,000 and £353,000 plus shares.
Unite's regional officer, Alan Lewis said: "Our members are justifiably furious. The scale of greed is nothing short of scandalous. Workers' pay is being frozen while three senior managers are awarded £1.5 million in bonuses. A fair pay increase of 4% for the staff in Coventry would cost the company less than a quarter of the cost of the bonuses given to just three men.
"Some workers have even had their pay cut by £17,000. Unite will not tolerate this behaviour and will back its members until the company takes hold of its senses and rewards its staff fairly."
Such was the anger and determination to force management back, workers picketed the factory for nearly the whole of the two 24-hour strikes with 20-25 workers always at the gates.
One worker had missed shifts at his second job so he could take his turn on the picket and was pleased to see the level of support from outside with fellow Unite members and a postman joining the picket.
In The Socialist 4 August 2010:
War and occupation
Workplace news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party LGBT
Socialist Party events
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Review & Comment