Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 50 Number 39, October 31, 2020 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Workers' Forum

Engineering Workers in Walsall Militantly Demonstrate against Draconian Pay Cuts

Workers and their union, Unite, organised a powerful protest and expression of their feelings at this time of pandemic.

During the pandemic, Chamberlain & Hill Castings Ltd has had the audacity to cut the wages of their workers, but they are not getting off lightly. This section of workers in engineering are showing their traditional consciousness to voice their concerns and organise protest at such an assault on their livelihoods, which threatens themselves and their families.

Workers and their union, Unite, organised a powerful protest and expression of their feelings at this time of pandemic. Taking care to avoid spreading the virus, the workers took social responsibility with social distancing in their demonstration in contrast to the irresponsible actions of the company. The protest took place in view of the whole community outside the gates in Chuckery Road, Walsall, on October 22. Any illusion that engineering in the Midlands is about to roll over and accept such an attack on their conditions is shattered by such action.

The workforce is protesting at changes to terms and conditions arbitrarily forced on the workforce resulting in workers becoming up to £200 a week worse off. Unite made counter-proposals that would have resulted in the company, which produces castings for the automotive industry, making the same level of savings; all proposals were flatly rejected by the management decision-makers. The workers at this particular company are responsible for key components in the supply chain of the car industry. Their action can produce more than ripples in many ways throughout industry. It must become widely known and supported.

Unite is now preparing to hold an industrial action ballot in opposition to the company's actions.

Unite is tying this in with its campaign for greater assistance from the government for the manufacturing sector that has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Unite has launched its SOS for Jobs campaign which calls on the government to follow the lead of other European nations such as France and Germany who are providing a far greater level of assistance to their manufacturing sectors to protect them during the pandemic. The government's job retention (furlough) scheme ends soon and those in the industry, including unions and companies, have indicated that the government's job support scheme is of limited value.

These mass producers of wealth and new value in society, in the tough environment of casting, with the character to shrug off criticism by the owners, are not shy to act with courage and conviction when it comes to acting alongside other workers during this pandemic to turn the situation around to favour their interests and a new direction for the economy.


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