Wednesday, 12 October 2011

60 printers sacked as bosses make a million

Nick Chaffey, Southern region Socialist Party

Unite members at printers Wyndeham Impact in Basingstoke protested last Friday outside the closed factory to continue their fight for their jobs, unpaid wages, holiday pay, sick pay and against the previous sacking of two printers.

They were joined by supporters from the area, including National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) secretary Rob Williams.

The sacking of 60 printers by Wyndeham Impact shows the ruthless outlook of the bosses in their goal to feed their profit driven business.

Skilled workers who have given decades of work have been treated like dirt. It is a stark warning to working people and the trade unions of what to expect as employers attempt to squeeze every ounce of profit out of workers.

Longer hours and lower pay is their gospel unless the unions take the necessary steps to fight back.

Once again, like workers in the public sector such as those at Southampton City Council, legally binding contracts are shown to be worthless bits of paper, as the bosses tear up agreements.

Unite trade union members have mounted a determined and courageous campaign for what was rightfully theirs.

Over 24 weeks of industrial action, including weekly strikes, they have stood together on the picket line, the only means left to force the employers to adhere to the agreements that had been signed.

On Friday 30 September the 30 day consultation period ended, and workers were shocked at the news that Wyndeham Impact was closing.

Nothing had been said to the union either to officials or to reps at Impact. Management phoned workers telling them not to come in, the company was shutting and they would get their notice in writing.

One worker in the factory on Friday was notified by his wife, who phoned him after getting a message from the company on their answerphone at home.

Wyndeham bosses have torn up every agreement with the union, sending them down the road with statutory redundancy to be paid over twelve months. Unite says this is illegal and will take Impact to court.

On the one-year pay cut of 13% from 2009, workers lost thousands of pounds which went into the pockets of Impact.

The workers were forced to work bank holidays, then were given final written warnings for working to their contracts.

They had to take the company to court to claim sick pay, only to be paid up the day before the hearing.

The onslaught on workers across the public and private sector needs to be met with the full force of the trade unions. The 30th November public sector strike will be a step towards this.