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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 November 2021

Panasonic workers strike against pay freeze

Panasonic picket 22 November, photo Dave Reid

Panasonic picket 22 November, photo Dave Reid   (Click to enlarge)

Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales

About 100 workers at Panasonic's factory in Cardiff took their second day of strike action on 22 November for a decent pay rise. Panasonic has offered yet another pay freeze. The workers, members of the GMB union, are demanding 5%, itself a 'stand-still' pay rise, merely keeping up with cost of inflation after years of pay freezes and below-inflation pay rises.

Panasonic, which has an annual turnover of £50 billion a year, claims it cannot afford a real-terms pay increase this year. It offered the Cardiff workforce 1%, but when that was rejected it withdrew even that paltry rise.

Production workers are paid the minimum wage of just £9.18 an hour, despite having important skills. Their pay would rise by 3.5% to £9.50 anyway in April because of the rise in the minimum wage.

The company managed to keep production of microwaves going through the first strike day, but much of the work had to be binned because the work, using unskilled labour, was no good. The company would have lost thousands.

Skilled warehouse workers are currently paid £10.50 an hour, while the going rate for the Panasonic workers' level of skills is more like £13 an hour. The Socialist Party calls for a £15 minimum wage for all.

In the past, Panasonic was seen as a good place to work, but for years workers' pay has fallen further and further behind the cost of living, with pay freezes and below-inflation pay rises every year. The company has been chasing low wages, closing down other plants in Cardiff and Newport 15 years ago, and transferring production to new factories in eastern Europe and Vietnam.

After years of pay cuts and bullying management, Cardiff workers have had enough. 40 workers have turned out to support the picket line. An overtime ban continues. The next two strike days are on 29 November and 6 December, and the strikers are looking to spread the strike through the site, with members looking to move to two-day strikes.

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In The Socialist 24 November 2021:


News

Workers' action can defeat weak and divided Tories

Working class strangled by price rises and pay cuts

Poorer pensioners fleeced by social care cap

Tories hammer nail in pensions triple lock coffin

HS2 eastern route cancelled: Fight for a workers' plan for public transport

Cricket's history of racism and elitism


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Tories responsible for NHS staff shortages


Violence against women

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What did you think of Socialism 2021?


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Support uni workers' walk-out on pay and pensions

RMT to strike in London night-tube dispute

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Tesco warehouse workers ballot for strike action

Sage care home workers' pay victory


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Sudan: "Hamdok has sold the revolution!"

USA: Right-wing vigilante Rittenhouse acquitted - capitalist courts will not defend the working class!


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Chartism: The world's first working-class movement


Neurodiversity

The struggle for accessible workplaces and an inclusive society


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Obituary: Ted Austin (1940-2021) - working-class socialist stalwart


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Newham: Durning Hall - another shameful act of Labour gentrification

Slough: Adult service cuts will leave vulnerable homeless

Northampton: Phoney consultation to mask cuts

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