MANCHESTER, England — “The support for our strike has opened my mind,” Garry Walker, a worker at CHEP pallet company, told a solidarity meeting organized by Manchester Trades Union Council Jan. 12. The workers, organized by Unite, went on strike here Dec. 17, demanding a 5% pay raise.
Striking workers “are leading the way,” James Coffield, a GMB union shop steward at the company’s Pontefract depot in Yorkshire, told the meeting. “I’m getting asked every day — how is the Manchester strike going?”
At the picket line, striker Alan Kirwan told the Militant the strikers have been able to turn away some of the drivers delivering to the plant. “Those who are union members understand about our fight,” he said.
“There’s been a sea change in the confidence of the lads,” Walker said at the Jan. 12 meeting. “Workers now see we have a voice and can do something.”
Walker and striker Andy Aspinall came to the Manchester South Rail Maritime and Transport union branch meeting to win support Jan. 10. Days later branch secretary Clayton Clive and three other RMT members joined the CHEP workers’ picket line with 40 other trades unionists. Clive addressed the striking workers.
“Sometimes we get demoralized,” he said, “but to hear about others fighting was an inspiration.” The RMT branch donated 300 pounds ($408) to the strike fund.
Four strikers joined the picket line of train cleaners working for Atalian Servest at Manchester Piccadilly station Jan. 21. The cleaners struck for two days to demand better pay.
To send messages to CHEP strikers, email email@example.com. Donations to Unity Bank NW/1 Strike Fund. Account 20217873. Sort code 60-83-01.
Visit their pickets 24 hours a day on weekdays at Village Way, Trafford Park, M17 1HR.