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2 June 2016
RF Brookes walk out over pay cut
Rogerstone BFAWU workers take action to defend pay and conditions
Over 80 workers, members of the BFAWU bakers' union, rallied at the picket line at RF Brookes in Rogerstone, Newport, this morning supported by members of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN), Youth Fight for Jobs and strikers from the National Museum of Wales.
They are on a 48-hour strike against the company, owned by 2 Sisters, cutting shift allowances, overtime payments and discriminating against young workers. The dispute has arisen as the company attempts to cut pay as the National Living Wage is introduced.
Agency and temporary workers have been brought in to work through the stoppage but with core workers on strike it is unlikely they will have much work to do. Despite management intimidation on the picket line a number of workers refused to cross, with strikers cheering and clapping as they turned away. Most delivery lorries refused to cross picket lines as well.
As pickets spoke to drivers to dissuade them from crossing the picket line, one driver turned off his engine and walked into a nearby superstore leaving his car blocking the road for half an hour, causing quite a blockage!
When the driver of a waste lorry that had been previously turned away attempted to force his way through - endangering the lives of pickets - over 100 strikers blocked the road completely.
Workers have remained defiant in the face of a management which has been attempting to bully the workforce into signing new contracts.
One worker has been suspended for asking a colleague if she was going into work. Workers from abroad have been told that if they don't sign the new contract they will be sacked.
A delegation from Pennine Foods is travelling down to support the strike. They, and workers at Pizza Factory in Nottingham, are also in dispute with 2 Sisters over cuts to premium pay, with Pennine workers ready to strike again on 5 June following a well-supported two-day strike two weeks ago.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 2 June 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.
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