Glass workers in Gateshead are striking against an insulting pay deal. Tony Dowling reports
Unite the union members at Tyneside Safety Glass in Gateshead have voted unanimously to continue their strike action.
Following a seven day strike over pay, during which the company is believed to have been illegally using agency workers, over 100 strikers met on Thursday after picketing all day. Addressed by Fazia Hussain-Brown, Unite regional officer, and their workplace reps Mark, Neil & Jaroslaw, the strikers were unanimous in deciding on further strikes.
"Our members and their families are faced with the continuing cost of living crisis, with household bills going through the roof," says Fazia, "they deserve a more generous pay deal."
The company made profits of nearly £610k last year and is reported to have paid over £750,000 from the company's account into the owners' trust fund. And the highest paid director pocketed a 14% pay rise.
"The management's plea of poverty does not ring true," says Fazia
Workers have been offered a three year deal of 3% the first year, followed by two years of 2%. However, this offer follows a pay freeze and the deal has major strings attached to make it "self-funding" so workers would have to do longer hours.
They agreed to give notice of further strike action to begin on 30th June. Workers are looking for a one year deal, an above inflation above rise and an agreement on agency workers.
Speaking on behalf of North East People's Assembly, Tony Dowling, who had been invited to the meeting, pledged to take collections for the strikers on the two north east coaches to the 'No More Austerity' national demonstration in London.
Tony Dowling is a teacher, socialist, trade unionist, antifascist, anti-war & anti-cuts activist. He is currently chair of North East People's Assembly and a member of Counterfire.
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