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FCC Wilmington refuse workers' strike in hull stands firm
International solidarity from Spanish school students
Paul Spooner, Hull Socialist Party
The refuse workers at FCC Wilmington waste processing in Hull continue to stand firm in their demand for equal sick pay. The strike is actually getting stronger as workers from other sites in the Hull and east Yorkshire area are walking out in support. The strikers have been buoyed by the support from local council bin workers who have refused to cross the picket line.
Solidarity messages and finance have also increased. The National Education Union (NUT section) conference bucket collection raised £700 and local construction workers on a neighbouring site have raised £300. Other trade union branches are also sending donations.
Perhaps the biggest morale booster was the news that the Spanish student union would be organising a solidarity protest at the FCC headquarters in Madrid and Barcelona. They have also pledged to raise the issue in the Spanish labour movement.
On 7 April, pickets and supporters gathered for a musical rally in support. We were treated to great sets from Joe Solo and the Hillbilly Troupe. Labour MP Emma Hardy pledged her support to rousing applause and promised to raise the issue in parliament.
Mick Whale, who together with Damian Walenta had been instrumental in organising the NEU bucket collection, got a good response when he linked Joe Solo's song 'No Pasaran' about Hull International Brigader Jack Atkinson to the current struggle against Spanish-based FCC.
Tony Smith, speaking on behalf of the pickets, thanked a number of people for their support, including Socialist Party members Keith and Janet Gibson. "The best thing about the strike", he said, "was the friendship of the pickets themselves".
There is a growing confidence that the strikers will win this dispute. Messages of support and donations are still needed. Please send to Adrian Kennett, secretary Unison Hull, 39 Alfred Gelder Street, Hull HU12 2AG. Make cheques payable to Unison Hull City branch.
In The Socialist 11 April 2018:
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