Some of the 200 Derby workers.
Striker Rob Green addresses the meeting.
Jerry Hicks takes the stage.
He may be short, but he wont be bought!
Come on you reds!
First speaker was striking Bristol worker Robert Green. He was nervous having never spoken in public before but gave an excellent speech about why his section at the Bristol plant are on indefinite strike until Jerry is reinstated. Next Jerry spoke for 40 minutes about the history of the present dispute and its wider implications for everyone employed by RR. He argued that an attack on the union or its elected representatives had to be defended if workers were ever going to have a hope of securing better conditions and pensions.
Unsurprisingly the management at Derby had been circulating false rumours to the workforce about Bristol in general and Jerry in particular. It was agreed that the history of the dispute should be accurately published and made available to all the workers at Derby who could not attend. The meeting ended with questions from the audience directed to Jerry the Bristol strikers and the local union rep. If those in attendance were representative of the rest of the Derby operation then strike action in solidarity with Bristol looks inevitable.
At Bristol the present situation is that the entire test section are on indefinite strike until Jerry gets his job back. Although the rest of the plant is still operational the test section is at the end of the production line so no orders can leave the plant until the dispute ends. The rest of the plant is balloting for strike action (result due in 1 week) and other plants like Derby look like they will follow. Meanwhile the management’s attitude to those on the picket line is becoming increasingly petty. Strikers entering the gates to collect personal belongings or use the loo are being threatened by managers for trespassing. Trees that were being used by pickets to shelter from the rain have been fenced off for no reason. All this is achieving is to annoy a very solid group of people who are already pissed off.
Finally what do people think about supporting the Derby workers if they do decide to strike in solidarity with Bristol?? I’m only asking because unlike Bristol the Derby plant does not handle any military orders at all. Now there’s a conundrum…