Labour Candidate joins Striking Workers on the Picket Line

Thursday, 25 May 2017
Strong local support for Bridgwater workers on strike

Labour candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset, Wes Hinckes, joined striking workers from the UNITE Union on the picket line this week to show solidarity and to pledge that a Labour Government would not support the ‘outsourcing’ that led to the dispute which has brought  over one and a half thousand Bridgwater workers into conflict with their employers.

Labour Party members, UNITE Community activists, other Bridgater Trades Unionists and supportive members of the public also joined the strikers on the picket line.

Bridgwater Trades Union Council  spokesman Dave Chapple explained what was behind the action “Not for the first time, Unite members who work in the ARGOS regional distribution warehouse at Huntworth, Bridgwater, are out on strike to defend their basic conditions at work. This is not a fight of their choosing; not a fight for more pay; not a fight for better shift or overtime payments: they are seeking guarantees from ARGOS-a company now owned by Sainsbury PLC- that should they be contracted-out to a third-party company, or out-housed to other premises, their current wages and conditions remain or a redundancy package be given to those who cannot relocate. They are also seeking to retain a national bargaining group of the six warehouses involved.”
Trades Council spokesman Dave Chapple (far left) with striking Bridgwater workers and their supporters

National Strike

 
Dave Chapple continued “The strike is not a fight against local Bridgwater ARGOS management-all six ARGOS warehouses nationally are involved. However, Unite the Union at the Bridgwater depot, as we would expect, is very well organised, and might be seen by aggressive national ARGOS bosses as key.This is why Bridgwater Trades Union Council is calling for local trades unionists, in Bridgwater, Somerset and Bristol, to show solidarity with the 280 Unite members at the Huntworth picket lines, staffed, as a minimum, around shift change-overs at 6am, 2pm and 10pm every week-day.”

Labour is the Party of the Workers

Labour Candidate Wes Hinckes discusses the issues on the picket line

Wes Hinckes said “If Argos succeed in driving down wages and conditions through outsourcing, which firms will be next? A Labour Government would put an end to this outsourcing.Under the Conservatives, Britain has dived to third from the bottom of the wages league table. By 2018, it is predicted that wages will have fallen by 6.8%, since 2008, if current economic policies continue.In the world’s sixth richest economy, we see nurses having to use food-banks to get by, six million people earn less than the living wage and four million children are growing up in poverty. A change of government will bring these humanitarian crimes to an end. “

Labour Pledges on Workers Rights

The red flags are flying again.

Labour will;-

  • invest £500 billion in infrastructure and industry, backed up by a publicly-owned National Investment Bank and regional banks.
  • create a million good quality jobs across our regions and nations, and guarantee a decent job for all, in  a high skilled, high tech, low-carbon economy where no-one and no community is left behind.
  • strengthen working people’s representation at work and the ability of trade unions to organise, so that working people have a real voice at work. Labour will give people stronger employment rights from day one in a job, outlaw zero-hours contracts, and create new collective bargaining rights.
  • put the defence of social and employment rights, as well as action against undercutting of pay and conditions through the exploitation of migrant labour, at the centre of the Brexit negotiations agenda for a new relationship with Europe.
  • ban all zero-hours contracts,  put a halt to unpaid internships, end the pay cap on public sector staff and guarantee temporary and part-time workers the same rights as full-time employees.