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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 January 2022

West Mids metalworkers strike over pay

Somers Forge

Somers Forge   (Click to enlarge)

Nick Hart, West Midlands Socialist Party

Metal workers at Somers Forge in Halesowen made history just before Christmas after taking strike action for the first time in the factory's 155-year history. Over 30 GMB union members joined the picket line, leading to a shutdown of the metalworking shop.

When the pandemic was raging at the end of 2020, management closed the enhanced sick pay scheme overnight, with workers losing thousands of pounds in contributions paid in over many years.

Then earlier this year, the company withdrew from the existing two-year pay deal, and is now refusing to backdate the new one to April, after stringing out negotiations.

This follows years of pay freezes and attacks on pensions under the ownership of the Folkes family, and is despite the company being consistently profitable pre-pandemic and, by their own admission, having a healthy order book.

Principal shareholder Constantine Folkes himself clocked in at 37th on the Birmingham Post rich list last year (though he's currently resident in Jersey, having previously been under investigation for tax evasion and misappropriation of company funds).

Workers at Somers have now taken two days of strike action, with more planned following the Christmas shutdown to make sure they get a better share of the wealth their work has created throughout the pandemic.

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In The Socialist 6 January 2022:


News

Tories' cost of living squeeze - build the workers' fightback

NHS Covid staff crisis

Blair knighted for services to the rich and powerful

Tory test shortage failure

More fares misery for passengers - renationalise the railways

Schools: union action needed for Covid safety


Capitalism in crisis

Britain in 2022: Build a coordinated working-class fightback


Workplace news

Strike threat forces Tesco to improve pay offer

West Mids metalworkers strike over pay

Sheffield JustEat couriers escalate dispute

Scunny scaffs enter twelfth week of strike action

S. Yorks Stagecoach workers start indefinite strike

Invergordon posties mutiny


International news

Chile's working class delivers a landslide vote against ultra-right Kast


Socialist history

New unionism - when mass workers' action changed Britain


Local elections

TUSC appeals for widest possible anti-austerity socialist unity for May elections


Campaigns news

Coventry: Private profits from hospital parking

Fighting Fund - 162% of target, 162,000 raised

Trinity Centre: Shameful eviction by Newham council


Obituary

Obituary: Kate Jones - 1953-2021


 

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