'Infectious and inspiring' B&Q picket lines in Worksop see big turnouts from striking workers determined to win, reports John Westmoreland
Worksop B&Q strikers are full of determination. The picket lines in the second week of strike action at the B&Q distribution centre in Worksop are big, loud and determined.
Women on the picket line explained that they willingly manage their school runs so that they can join the picket. “We all make a commitment to get here for some time during the day. At around 12.00 there are often over a hundred of us here”.
The strike has a good deal of local support too. Lorries and cars honk their horns every few minutes.
“The bosses never expected this level of determination, but we’ve had enough. Our employer, Wincanton are anti-trade union and want to see the union broken. They plan to wait until we get fed up and use us an example to others that striking won’t work. But we are determined to prove them wrong.”
The strikers are furious about an insulting pay offer. “After working here for fifteen years my pay has gone up by just £3 an hour and now they offer us two per cent, while the bosses are getting paid a fortune off the backs of our work”.
The strike at Worksop has struck a chord with other workers in the region. As senior shop steward Pat McGrath puts it, “Kingfisher, who own the place, are announcing record profits by paying us a pittance, and we’re not taking it. Other distribution centres that have accepted four per cent are wishing they hadn’t when they see our strike.”
The strike will be paused next week and then all out action will be begin on December 20. The fortunes of workers in distribution centres nationally depend on the outcome of this strike. With Tesco backing down in the face of threatened strike action we know we can win.
The mood on the picket line in Worksop is inspiring and infectious.
Before you go...
Counterfire is expanding fast as a website and an organisation. We are trying to organise a dynamic extra-parliamentary left in every part of the country to help build resistance to the government and their billionaire backers. If you like what you have read and you want to help, please join us or just get in touch by emailing [email protected] Now is the time!
John is a history teacher and UCU rep. He is an active member of the People's Assembly and writes regularly for Counterfire.