They are striking in defence of the 51 sacked workers who struck to defend nationally agreed terms and conditions. For too long, managers and bosses have been using workers from the EU to undermine agreed wages, terms and conditions. This has major implications for pay, conditions and health and safety.
Imagine for a moment that you went to Poland to do the same job you do now, but for double the money (still half of the national agreement). The health and safety notices are in Polish. You do not know Polish labour law. Your colleagues speak Polish. You are in an incredibly dangerous position, both in terms of injury and exploitation.
"It will take a death before something gets done" said one striker. "We've got to support them".
One of the original 51 sacked workers was leading the blockade of the entrance. "All we want is the chance to work" he said, "We have to stick together".
Across the picket lines, reports were coming in from across the country. One striker said that the whole country was out on strike today, apart from Stanlow and Hinckley. The only reason they were not out is that they were having workplace meetings before walking out.
"This is now a national dispute" said a UNITE The Union member. "We're out until the 951 are reinstated. This has to be carried on".
No doubt, the mainstream media, BNP and other sources will be concentrating on the "British jobs for British workers" angle. This is completely false, the mood today was in support of international labour and against the bosses and managers trying to divide us. "They're all greedy bastards" said another striker. "They bring in foreign labour, pay them half as much and make them work twice as hard. The bosses make at least double the profit".
A strike meeting agreed that the pickets will return on Monday morning from 06.30 in force to picket all three entrances to Ratcliffe Upon Soar.
Mansfield and Nottingham Trades Council reiterates our support for the strikes, and sends greetings and solidarity to all involved. We will be joining the pickets on Monday, and encourage everyone else that can to do so. Take the 61 bus, or the first entrance is a 5 minute walk from East Midlands Parkway station. For more info from the Trades Council, call 07932 417 506.