Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 7 June 2016 at 11:00 GMT

Pennine Foods strike 6.6.16, photo by A Tice

Pennine Foods strike 6.6.16, photo by A Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Pennine Foods strike: "Business NOT open as usual - Again!"

Alistair Tice, Yorkshire Socialist Party

"Solidarnosc" replied the Polish waggon driver when told by pickets that there was a strike on at Pennine Foods in Sheffield. His mate parked up and both joined us on the picket line waving BFAWU bakers' union flags, and for a coffee.

Pennine Foods strike 6.6.16, Polish driver who said 'Solidarnosc'!, photo by  A Tice

Pennine Foods strike 6.6.16, Polish driver who said 'Solidarnosc'!, photo by A Tice

"The workers united will never be defeated" rang round the picket line when the artic cab that had been parked up for four hours waiting to get into the factory to take two deliveries out, finally turned round and left. The cab driver didn't want to cross the line that he described as a "war-zone" (a bit of an exaggeration for a peaceful but resolute picket which was never less than 100 strong).

This gave victory to the pickets whose determination had faced down the 2 Sisters company bosses and a nervous South Yorkshire police throughout their second 48-hour strike (5-6 June), meaning not one lorry went in or out of the factory. The 'sweet-talking' police liaison officer told us that the management "have given up" trying to move anything.

Polish strikers had spoken to Polish drivers. A Romanian striker spoke on the phone to a Romanian driver. This strike involving 400 English, Eastern European, Asian and African workers has been a marvellous celebration of workers' solidarity in action against the common enemy of a billionaire boss imposing pay cuts of up to 5,000 a year on low paid workers through cutting premium payments. Even a few agency workers have walked out in support.

Pennine Foods strike 6.6.16, photo by  A Tice

Pennine Foods strike 6.6.16, photo by A Tice   (Click to enlarge)

This strike has cost the company thousands of pounds in lost and wasted production. After the first strike, management sent employees a letter saying how disappointed it was, but that the strike hadn't affected production. Well, after this strike the 'amended' "Business NOT open as usual" sign on the factory gates tells it as it really is.

This is the first strike in the site's 28-year history but workers have learned fast in struggle. They voted unanimously on the picket line to escalate the next planned two-day strike into a week-long strike commencing on Thursday 16th June. The first two days will coincide with a second 48-hour strike by BFAWU members at the RF Brookes factory (part of 2 Sisters group) in Newport, South Wales.

Pennine Foods strike 6.6.16, photo by  A Tice

Pennine Foods strike 6.6.16, photo by A Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Both these factories supply Marks and Spencers with ready meals so the BFAWU will be calling for trade unionists and socialists to 'protest picket' M&S stores around the country as has already happed in Sheffield. Such a 'leverage' campaign as an adjunct to escalating coordinated industrial action and determined picketing can score an inspiring victory for the BFAWU and all workers suffering at the hands of millionaire bosses.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 7 June 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


Related links:


triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleKen Douglas

triangleCommunities condemn Tory handling of crisis - with safe protests

triangleYork Socialist Party: After Starmer's victory - how to continue the struggle for socialism

triangle'Roses are red, violets are blue, BP and Shell - we're coming for you'


triangleOppose BT site closures - national strike ballot needed

triangleIran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes

triangleIsrael: Nurses strike and win

triangleHugely significant council workers' strike continues


triangleSocialist Party & Unison NEC member Hugo Pierre (centre), alongside others, taking part in the 8 August health workers' protests for a 15% pay increase. Photo Sarah SE

triangleCuba: Covid-19 and the 60-year-old embargo

triangleCampaign stalls on jobs, pay, NHS and racism


triangleTories put profit before lives

triangleDefend the right to strike! Southampton solidarity meeting


triangleWestex workers win increased pay offer in 11th week of strike


triangleWandsworth Town McDonald's strike protest. Tuesday 12th November 2019. Photo Isai Priya

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Young Socialists

After Scottish government U-turn, Young Socialists fight for a future on A-Level results day



'First you clap us then you slap us'


Young Socialists

Young Socialist day of action


Socialist Party

Campaign stalls on jobs, pay, NHS and racism


Black Lives Matter

North London: Socialist Party speaks at BLM protest



Engage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online


Socialist Party

Why I joined - Covid changed my outlook


Socialist Party

Socialist Party meetings: Online and in-person


Young Socialists

A-level results day 2020: Fight for our future!



GE Aviation workers march to save jobs



80 years since the murder of Leon Trotsky rally



Fighting to end racism and capitalism



Doncaster: Vigil for murdered women


The Socialist

The Socialist summer schedule



Unite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020