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Posted on 15 October 2019 at 15:55 GMT

Flooring workers strike, Derbyshire

More than 70 production workers at Forbo Flooring UK in Ripley, Derbyshire began a series of 48-hour strikes on Tuesday 15 October.

The day before, the workers had rejected, by a huge majority, a slightly improved offer from management for a two-year package backdated to 1st January 2019, running to 31st December 2020.

The basic package was for a 2.2% salary increase in Year 1, and 2.1% in Year 2, with two extra days holiday at Christmas 2019.

The Unite union stated that the staff have been undervalued and disrespected throughout the dispute, in addition to a prevalence of a culture of bullying and harassment in the workplace.

The 48-hour strikes are to run for 10 weeks until Christmas and these will be accompanied by a continuous overtime ban.

Unite members voted 61% in favour of strike action for better pay, terms and conditions.

Ian Hunter, Derby Socialist Party

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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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
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