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Posted on 22 August 2018 at 12:07 GMT

Sunderland Liebherr strike for better pay

Liebherr picket line in Sunderland 17 August 2018, photo Elaine Brunskill

Liebherr picket line in Sunderland 17 August 2018, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

"We'll be out as long as it takes", was the strident attitude of Liebherr strikers. The Unite the Union members on the picket line told the Socialist Party that they are striking for a decent pay increase. Liebbherr's offer of 3% was rejected by a decisive 94%.

Liebherr is a global company, and the site in Sunderland is profitable. They assemble high quality cranes for the oil and maritime industries. Globally, turnover was almost 10 billion Euros for 2017. Yet, management, "aren't forthcoming" when it comes to offering a decent pay increase.

For a number of years the company has made promises to pay more when the company does better. As their leaflet says: "The members expect the management to make good on its previous 'jam tomorrow' promises."

The mood on the picket line is upbeat. The only ones going into the plant are temps and apprentices. While I was there a lorry making a delivery was turned away, and many others have also refused to cross the picket line.

Elaine Brunskill

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 17 August 2018 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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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.

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