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Cable makers' pay strike bites as production falls 33%
Bea Gardner, Southampton Socialist Students
Production at Prysmian Cables and Systems in Eastleigh, Hampshire has dropped by a third since workers launched industrial action in September.
Members of general union Unite held their third 24-hour strike, over a peanuts 2% pay increase offer, on 10 October. Members of Southampton Socialist Students, Southampton Socialist Party and the Community section of Unite joined the picket lines in solidarity.
Workers organised an impressive march through the town centre to raise the profile of the action, which bolstered everyone's spirits and confidence.
Since the action began in September, the expected output of the factory has been reduced from 1,200 tonnes to just 800 this month. Management has yet to agree to return to negotiations, so the union has set a fifth strike date.
Combined with the 24-hour stoppages, work-to-rule action is also causing chaos for the bosses, with machinery clogging up, breaking down and being switched off by workers no longer prepared to fill in for the company's lack of investment.
One striker told us the factory is run on the goodwill of workers. Another said that since he started working there 16 years ago, the workforce in his department has been cut in half. He added that the refusal of the multibillion-pound company to invest has meant workers taking on more and more duties to keep things running, including work previously done by machines that have broken and not been replaced.
The determination to keep fighting was clear, and Socialist Students members will continue to show our support for the workers of Prysmian who deserve far more than a below-inflation pay 'rise' of 2%.
- Please send messages of solidarity to email@example.com
Workers walked out on their third out of four strike days at cable manufacturer Prysmian in Eastleigh on 10 October. They are organised by general union Unite.
Fifty strikers were on the picket line in good spirits, with supporters including five local members of the Socialist Party. We marched to Eastleigh shopping centre.
This is the first dispute at Prysmian in 30 years, and workers are only asking for a 2.5% pay increase. There are separate disputes at sites in Wales and Spain. The planned fourth strike day is 17 October.
Mike, Southampton Socialist Party
In The Socialist 17 October 2018:
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