Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1013/28048
From The Socialist newspaper, 10 October 2018
Cable makers strike against real-terms pay cut
Prysmian cable workers on strike in Eastleigh, 26.9.18, photo by Declan Clune (Click to enlarge)
Declan Clune, Southampton Socialist Party
At midnight on 26 September, staff at cable manufacturer Prysmian in Eastleigh downed tools. The 24-hour strike was the first of four.
After years of below-inflation pay 'rises', Prysmian bosses produced another derisory pay rise offer of 2%. Even the conservative 'CPI' inflation rate currently stands at 2.7%
General union Unite balloted members for action to get a better deal. The result was 83% backing strikes, and 96% backing industrial action short of strike.
Historically, this industry was a huge employer and very important for the local economy. Many worked for tyre maker Pirelli, which sold off its cable division in 2005, renamed Prysmian.
I spoke to strikers who had been employed from that time - some had 40 years' experience! They have seen a move from full-time, permanent staff to casual, agency workers. Typical divide-and-rule tactics that result in poorer working conditions.
"This company is brutal," were the words of one picket describing management's approach to workers. "We held talks with management, and we were positive a fair deal was possible and a deal struck."
Unfortunately, the bosses ended that consultation by refusing to improve on their real-terms pay cut offer, leading to this strike. Workers struck again on 3 October, with a strike and demonstration planned for 10 October, and another strike on 17 October.
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.
In The Socialist 10 October 2018:
What we think
Tories' crisis conference - Corbyn must fight for general election
Workplace news and analysis
We need democratic, rank-and-file leadership to win national UCU disputes
First coordinated catering and courier strike whets workers' appetite for action
Another first: pub strike victory in south London!
Cable makers strike against real-terms pay cut
Strike raises pay at Liverpool airport
South Western rail guards hit 18 strike days
Socialist Party news and analysis
Fight the right
12 years to halt irreversible climate disaster. Capitalism's time is up
8,000 Glasgow workers plan historic mass strike
Super-rich flee to Monaco to evade Corbyn
Workers in UK do £1.2trn of unpaid housework and care
Workers' action wins Amazon pay rise
Them & Us
Fight racism: fight for jobs, homes and services for all
25 years since 50,000 marched against the far-right threat
International socialist news and analysis
Polarisation, risks and resistance in Brazilian elections
Mexico: socialists violently attacked by gangs - urgent solidarity needed
Ireland: 10,000 march for homes in Dublin
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Liverpool 47 plaque: "Better to break the law, than break the poor"
Palestinian solidarity: "We are not victims. We are freedom fighters."
Leicestershire: stop the cuts to our hospital services
Save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary - the fight goes on
Finance - a crucial component of socialist campaigns
The murky world of the 'Big Four' accountancy firms
The Socialist Inbox
The Socialist 10 October 2018 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook