Workers are occupying a packaging plant in Bootle near Liverpool after bosses locked out employees in the midst of a battle over redundancies.
Managers at the Austrian-owned Mayr-Melnhof Packaging plant wanted to axe 37 jobs, prompting a strike by members of the Unite union. Bosses responded by locking the workers out, a step unprecedented in British labour history since the 1950s.
Around 40 workers occupied the site at around 11:30am on Saturday 18 February and vowed to stay until management resumes negotiations about the job losses.
Workers agreed to suspend their action following a promise of talks from management, but called a solidarity demonstration on the morning of Monday 20 February to keep up the pressure on bosses.
Mayr-Melnhof is part of a small but significant revival of the tactic of occupations in British and Irish labour disputes, and follows occupations of La Senza workers in Dublin, the ongoing occupation of the Vita Cortex plant in Cork and the use of flash occupations of sites and contractors’ offices in the electricians’ battle against pay cuts and deskilling.