Bandit | 13.08.2003 12:28 | Liverpool
MORE than 150 workers at a chemical factory in Widnes are to strike over fears that their company pension fund could close.For the second time in a month, GMB and Amicus union members at French chemical company Rhodia will stage a 24-hour walk-out in an attempt to force the company to reopen the pension scheme to all employees.The company denies there are plans to close its final salary scheme to current employees. A money purchase scheme for new employees has been set up.Plans are already in place for a rolling programme of strikes at the company's plants in Earle Road, Widnes, and its west midlands factory at Oldbury.Roger Jeary, Amicus national secretary, said: "Our members are 100% committed to defend their pension scheme and to protect their families' future financial well-being, which is being put under threat by the actions of Rhodia."The company, which has 114 production units and 38 research centres in 150 countries, claims that not all the workers balloted nationally support the industrial action.Bob Tyler, Rhodia UK's personnel director said: "It's regrettable that despite no national majority the GMB and Amicus unions are resolved to continue this dispute over an issue that does not affect the pension provision of current employees in any way."This closure of pension schemes that workers have been paying into for years is happening all over the place. Its time the divisions were drawn – they the bosses do not care about us – the people – we need to be clear of this.
Threat to strike
COUNCIL services in Liverpool face chaos as 800 staff threaten to strike.It emerged today (Wednesday, August 13) that 200 workers at the council's 24 hour call centre, Liverpool Direct, are being balloted for action after moves to change their working conditions, including longer hours and new targets.This new threat follows the breakdown of talks yesterday to resolve a dispute over redundancies by Interserve which provides council house repairs.Their 600 staff are now voting whether to walk out in protest.Anyone who thinks those in positins of power listen to anything else need to think again.
Workers fight closure plan
WORKERS say they will fight plans to close the Golden Wonder crisp factory in Skelmersdale with the loss of nearly 400 jobs.Bosses told shocked staff of their plans - which they say is blamed on competition in the snacks market.Work will transfer to two sister sites in Corby, Leicestershire and Scunthorpe, Humberside.It comes four years after the company axed 540 jobs by shutting its Widnes plant.Union leaders will meet directors for talks later this week.Graham Williams, regional industrial organiser for the T&G union which represents around 150 of the plant's 375 staff said: "This is devastating news."We will be telling management that we want to keep production going."We will be negotiating the best for our members."He added: "The local economy is going to be badly affected as most of the people are from Skelmersdale, Liverpool or Wigan."Golden Wonder supplies about 75% of all the UK's supermarket branded crisps, but they say this sector has shrunk by 40% in the past five years. All three factories they say are now running at 60% capacity.The Skelmersdale site produces about 7.6m cases of crisps each year, accounting for around 33% of Golden Wonder's total crisp production.Golden Wonder is the UK's third largest supplier of crisps and snacks, with a 14% share of the UK's £2.2bn bagged snacks market.The company is also the largest supplier of supermarket-branded crisps and snacks.Factory owner Longulf opened a Snack Factory plant at the Skelmersdale site, alongside the M58 motorway, in 1990.In July last year Longulf bought Golden Wonder and merged Snack Factory under the Golden Wonder brand.Chief executive Ed Jackson said: "The planned closure of the Skelmersdale site comes after long and detailed consideration of Golden Wonder's manufacturing operation in which every possible option has been explored. The management claim"We will be working closely with employees and their representatives throughout the consultation process, seeking to explore ways in which we can mitigate the impact."Only one thing will save peoples livelihoods – direct actionOrganise & occupy.