Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/606/8657
Metaldyne workers fight bosses' sweeping attacks
Workers at the Metaldyne engine parts manufacturer in Halifax are set for a third day of strike action over the imposition of shift changes and threats of further attacks on terms, conditions, pensions and pay.
Ian Slattery and Alex Whatley
Management have already refused pay rises for two years running, telling workers they are earning 15-20% more than the market rate. In a letter to all staff they warned of the following changes to terms and conditions: an unpaid increase in hours worked from 36 to 40, changes to shift patterns without consultation with workers, cuts in pay for some shifts, suspension of the bonus scheme, attacks on sick pay, the continued closure of the canteen, and the closure of the pension scheme to new employees.
The attempted implementation of these changes was countered by a ballot for strike action. Management withdrew their plans but before long, most of them were back on the table and workers were forced to return to strike action.
One worker told The Socialist that the managing director, Chris Reynier, "needs to realise that you can't impose changes on workers, there must be give and take. We just don't trust him now."
There was some frustration that the strike action has not been more regular - the two previous strike days were a week apart, the second coming on 17 December. There is little doubt that when the management came back with the second round of attacks they anticipated action but calculated that the business could survive as work was always going to lessen in December.
"We're not forceful enough," one striker stated. "I think we should go all out and show our strength. It's too easy to work around single day walkouts."
The next strike day is set for 6 January, although further decisions were due to be made at a mass meeting.
The factory convenor warned: "If our action today doesn't work then we'll have no choice but to escalate."
With skilled manual jobs at a premium and unemployment already at a disgraceful high, the Socialist Party demands that any company threatening cuts should be nationalised and run under the control of workers, with compensation to shareholders given only on the basis of proven need.
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 click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
- Click here to read our full appeal statement
- Click here for our coronavirus articles and reports
- Click here to join the Socialist Party
In The Socialist 6 January 2010:
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party workplace news