Locked-out workers vote to fight on

Submitted by Matthew on 7 March, 2012 - 10:20

Workers at the Meyr-Meinhoff Packaging plant in Bootle, Liverpool have voted on 5 March to continue their pickets of the factory.

At a union meeting, workers voted 138 to 1 to reject the management’s derisory offer and continue with the dispute. They have now been locked out since 18 February.

The company have been spreading lies to their other plants over the nature of the dispute and have been accusing the workers of “intimidating behaviour” — no doubt the children’s football matches, barbeque and stuffed donkey are all very frightening. The workers have organised an ongoing blockade of the plant as there is £1.75 million worth of products still inside. They are now planning to increase their pickets through the night. The workers are visiting workers in other plants owned by the company in Deeside, Germany, France, Tunisia, Turkey and Austria, in order to stop the work being done elsewhere and to build solidarity.

The Deeside plant is now balloting for action on failure to agree on redundancies and hopefully the workers can win more international support.

For the workers involved, the dispute has come to be about more than taking on their employer over employment rights and jobs; they have developed a sense of solidarity and comradeship which has changed them. They have seen work colleagues that they hardly know being prepared to stand up for others. Women workers and young workers who have not been involved in any action before are now speaking at meetings. There are still 60 people on the blockade of the plant from each shift. They have said whatever happens – if they do go back to work and the factory isn’t closed – then management will be dealing with different people; people who know they can rely on each other for support and who know the importance of human solidarity

That solidarity will be the key to winning the dispute. Please send messages of support to p-potter1@sky.com.

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