Airbus wildcat, North Wales

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ernie
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Mar 24 2007 10:41
Airbus wildcat, North Wales

Does anyone know anything about the wildcat by several hundred Airbus workers at the Flintshire factory in North Wales? I have been told it was on Ceefax last night but has now disappeared. The unions have told the workers to go back to work and that they do not agree with the strike.

Mike Harman
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Mar 24 2007 10:49

I saw something about it briefly. Ah here's BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_east/6486187.stm?ls

ticking_fool
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Mar 24 2007 13:34

I have a relative who works there, but may not be able to get in touch with him for a while - I'll see if the family unit know anything.

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Steven.
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Mar 26 2007 09:36

More recent coverage of the Airbus wildcats and strikes here

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Steven.
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Mar 26 2007 11:46

We now have some extra info on this not from the beeb:
http://libcom.org/news/airbus-wildcat-strike-wave-reaches-uk-26032007

TF if you could find out anything that would be great.

ticking_fool
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Mar 26 2007 14:26

Not been able to get hold of him - although at second hand I know that there was an awful lot of support in the plant for the demo in chester the week before.

ernie
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Mar 26 2007 16:21

ticking_fool, catch and John, thank you for your very helpful replies. From the latest news item on here it would appear that the movement was bigger than initially implied by management and unions. It will be interesting to see how it develops.
Does anyone know the shift times at Filton and Wales and if it is possible to leaflet at these plants? I have a feeling that Filton has a dual carriageway going straight into it.

ticking_fool
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Mar 26 2007 18:04

The Broughton plant would be a pain in the arse to get to by public transport but alright in a car. It's pretty isolated though so you'd be stuck out on your own. As far as I remember (my dad works nearby so I've seen it going past a few times) it's quite a big plant with several gates, but I'm not sure about that - it's based on a couple of glances from the road and the train.

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Steven.
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Mar 27 2007 10:27
ernie wrote:
ticking_fool, catch and John, thank you for your very helpful replies. From the latest news item on here it would appear that the movement was bigger than initially implied by management and unions.

Well that would appear to be true of the management. But the only counter to management's claim of it only being a few hundred strikers is the union official claiming it was almost all 4,000. You guys really try to slate the unions everywhere don't you...

ernie
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Mar 27 2007 13:38

Thanks ticking_fool.

John, I thought I was only stating the obvious and held back from making too much about the unions role: obviously should try better!

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 27 2007 13:45

whatever the role of the unions in british capitalism today, in this case it was clearly the union stating the wildcat was big, not downplaying it, whatever their nefarious motives

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Steven.
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Mar 27 2007 14:19
ernie wrote:
John, I thought I was only stating the obvious and held back from making too much about the unions role: obviously should try better!

But you weren't stating "the obvious" you were stating something false to try to strengthen your anti-union argument. But arguments based on false claims are meaningless. Up your game!

baboon
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Mar 27 2007 16:20

The "anti-union argument" is being more and more strengthened by the trade unions themselves with every day that passes.
The original statement by the unions on the day of the wildcat, the 23rd, was that they did not agree with the strike and urged the workers to return to work. No doubt the next card played by the unions will the nationalist, defend British jobs type action in defence of British state capitalism.

Mike Harman
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Mar 27 2007 16:33
baboon wrote:
The original statement by the unions on the day of the wildcat, the 23rd, was that they did not agree with the strike and urged the workers to return to work.

Which is not what Ernie said. If he'd put that forward as an argument, it'd be a strong one, but saying they said something they didn't (when there's ample genuine material there to make the same point with) just undermines it.

I'm disappointed there's not been more responses to this thread, it's a pretty big strike and the fact it's Europe-wide makes it even more interesting. Ticking Fool thanks for the extra information and obviously we'd love to hear something first-hand if/when that's possible.

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Steven.
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Mar 27 2007 16:52
Mike Harman wrote:
baboon wrote:
The original statement by the unions on the day of the wildcat, the 23rd, was that they did not agree with the strike and urged the workers to return to work.

Which is not what Ernie said. If he'd put that forward as an argument, it'd be a strong one, but saying they said something they didn't (when there's ample genuine material there to make the same point with) just undermines it.

Very true. He's now repeated it on another thread as well. Of course, unions have to verbally say they tried to get people back to work so they don't get sued. Whether they actually tried is another issue. For example the CWU officially told the Belfast wildcats to return to work didn't they? But unofficially weren't they being helpful (Boul can you clarify)?

baboon
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Mar 27 2007 17:05

So when the trade unions and the rank and file union committee for cabin workers at Heathrow told the workers not to go on strike and accept the shit deal that they "negotiated", what did that mean?
And what did the furious anger from the workers directed against "their" union and "their" rank and file committe mean? Why do you think there's so many unofficial strikes now? What does that mean?

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Steven.
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Mar 27 2007 17:10
baboon wrote:
So when the trade unions and the rank and file union committee for cabin workers at Heathrow told the workers not to go on strike and accept the shit deal that they "negotiated", what did that mean?
And what did the furious anger from the workers directed against "their" union and "their" rank and file committe mean? Why do you think there's so many unofficial strikes now? What does that mean?

That ernie was lying repeatedly to try to prove a point.

Mike Harman
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Mar 27 2007 17:23
baboon wrote:
So when the trade unions and the rank and file union committee for cabin workers at Heathrow told the workers not to go on strike and accept the shit deal that they "negotiated", what did that mean?
And what did the furious anger from the workers directed against "their" union and "their" rank and file committe mean? Why do you think there's so many unofficial strikes now? What does that mean?

Baboon, I think you're missing the distinction between defending the unions (which neither me nor John are doing), and attacking dishonest or lazy methods of argument (which we both are).

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Alf
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Mar 27 2007 18:10

All this talk about lying and dishonesty on Ernie's part is completely unjustified. At worst he's guilty of not keeping up with latest developments - as he just told me over the phone, his understanding at the beginning of the strike was precisely that the unions were downplaying it.

The fixation on this point is distracting discussion from what's happening in the strike, how to respond, and from what it shows about the fundamental nature of the unions, whether they talk tough and radical or openly oppose the struggle.

Mike Harman
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Mar 27 2007 18:40
Quote:
The fixation on this point is distracting discussion from what's happening in the strike

That bit I can agree on

Not a lot around though. SWP's article is below even their usually poor standards: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php?article_id=11029

and a three line interview with a striker in the local paper: http://www.eveningleader.co.uk/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleID=2179051&Sectio...

hold on!!!
nope - now I'm inaccurate.

Second strike by workers who weren't on shift during Friday's!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/north_east/6499137.stm

Quote:
An Amicus spokesman said: "There were a handful of people who decided to do the same as their mates did last week.

"It's the same walk out (as last Friday's). People work different shifts, they weren't around on Friday.

"I'm not saying they should. The point was made - it if needed to be made - on Friday."

ambivalent from the spokesperson.

ernie
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Mar 27 2007 19:13

I agree with alf, that the accusations against me are unjustied. It would be helpful if Catch and John could actually show where I had lied. I think they may have misconstrued by second post where I say

Quote:
From the latest news item on here it would appear that the movement was bigger than initially implied by management and unions. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

Intially, the management and unions did downplay the extent of the movement. The management said only a few hundred where involved and the unions said go back to work and absolutely nothing about the numbers involved -as far as I could see-. however, on the 26th -three days after the strike began- they now pop up and say ah the management are being dishonest and there are 4000 involved. It took them 3 days to 'correct' the managements error. So when I said from the latest news item on here, I was being honest: the union had only just come out to say that there were 4000 involved.

This could appear to be pedantic but before we begin tossing words like lier, dishonest about in our discussions they should be provable.

The most interesting thing about this is that the union felt they had to come out and say that 4000 were involved after initially keeping stum about the real extent of the struggle. Catch and John does it not raise questions with you about why they kept silent when the bosses were opely lying about those involved. The implication from the union statement is that the strike is worrying them and they have to begin to back track from their initial silent complicity with the management and appear to be distancing themselves from the management. Yes this is supposition; but there is pretty strong reason to believe this is the case.

ernie
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Mar 27 2007 19:14

Catch your last post was not up when I did the above.
Thanks for the links etc

Mike Harman
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Mar 27 2007 21:58
ernie wrote:
I agree with alf, that the accusations against me are unjustied. It would be helpful if Catch and John could actually show where I had lied. I think they may have misconstrued by second post where I say

Quote:
From the latest news item on here it would appear that the movement was bigger than initially implied by management and unions. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

Intially, the management and unions did downplay the extent of the movement. The management said only a few hundred where involved and the unions said go back to work and absolutely nothing about the numbers involved -as far as I could see-. however, on the 26th -three days after the strike began- they now pop up and say ah the management are being dishonest and there are 4000 involved. It took them 3 days to 'correct' the managements error. So when I said from the latest news item on here, I was being honest: the union had only just come out to say that there were 4000 involved.

This could appear to be pedantic but before we begin tossing words like lier, dishonest about in our discussions they should be provable.

Well I said dishonest/lazy meaning you hadn't looked that closely - and assuming you'd not looked that closely then saying they downplayed it would be dishonest in the sense of attributing something that wasn't reported. The articles linked from this thread are the only information I've seen - if there's more around I'd love to see them though.

Quote:
The most interesting thing about this is that the union felt they had to come out and say that 4000 were involved after initially keeping stum about the real extent of the struggle.

Well I just checked on NewsNow and found this from the 24th
Which says "vast majority" - and the quote was from the 23rd. So a little research shows the accusation to be false - at best they were selectively quoted.

And icwales again when they returned says thousands, not hundreds on the 25th:

Quote:
Airbus strike staff return

THOUSANDS of Airbus staff who took unofficial strike action on Friday are expected back at work tomorrow.

Two-thirds of the 7,000 workers in Broughton, Flintshire, which makes wings for the A380 passenger jet, were involved in the walk-out.

Unions at the plant did not support the strike action and urged members to return to work.

Again - either a standard minimum response from the unions, or "thousands", but no downplaying.

Quote:
This could appear to be pedantic but before we begin tossing words like lier, dishonest about in our discussions they should be provable

Yes, I agree that accusations should be backed up.

No-one's disputing that the union has publicly urged people to go back to work and said they don't support the strike (and they'll have their funds seconded if they don't), however outside of meeting that minimum requirement, which they're unlikely to deviate from unless a lot more was at stake, I don't yet see anything concretely nefarious in how they've acted - since there isn't the information there either way. When the information is there to slam them around this particular wildcat, then I'm sure neither me nor John will hold back from doing so, but that's not the same thing as jumping in with rote responses and accusations that have no basis in the information that's actually available.

Mike Harman
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Mar 27 2007 22:32

ps I've updated the news article with the location - if you wanted to check out the possibilities for leafletting you can see satellite photos of the cars in the carpark now here: http://libcom.org/regions/maps?filter0=1025 (just click on the marker and keep zooming in).

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Tojiah
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Mar 27 2007 23:17
Mike Harman wrote:
ps I've updated the news article with the location - if you wanted to check out the possibilities for leafletting you can see satellite photos of the cars in the carpark now here: http://libcom.org/regions/maps?filter0=1025 (just click on the marker and keep zooming in).

Why would you want to leaflet them? Shouldn't they be leafletting you?

To be clearer on what I mean, if they're waging real class struggle, shouldn't you be learning from them, or engaging them in conversation, rather than just propagandeering? More constructively, shouldn't you get in touch with them and offer your leafletting services for their use, in order to spread the struggle to other workplaces to which they might not have access?

Mike Harman
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Mar 27 2007 23:30
tojiah wrote:
Why would you want to leaflet them? Shouldn't they be leafletting you?

treeofjudas, there's no way I'm going to be driving to North Wales to leaflet the plant - others who were closer were discussing the possibility, and I'm a bit overexcited about the new maps thing that just started working this week and wanted to show it off embarrassed . For the record I agree it'd be a lot more productive to show up offering to distribute/print their stuff than with World Revolution or whatever.

Quote:
More constructively, shouldn't you get in touch with them and offer your leafletting services for their use, in order to spread the struggle to other workplaces to which they might not have access?

Well we're hoping that Ticking Fool will be able get in touch with them and maybe from that we'll manage to do an interview. In these situations I think interviews are the best thing going short of being able to organise something elsewhere - since they let other workers hear it from the horse's mouth and usually contain lessons that need to be learned later on. I don't know of any airbus locations near me, and workers at my job don't put up a fight for their own conditions let alone someone elses.

In terms of getting it out to others who wouldn't hear about it, the news articles on this have already had about 250 reads each, which isn't too shabby for a couple of days. Anyone searching for airbus wildcat will get us instead of some corporate news source. The main place that should really be leafletted is the Airbus plant near/in Bristol - not heard anything about Filton yet other than rumours that Airbus might put some investment in there.

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Tojiah
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Mar 27 2007 23:45

Yeah, an interview is an excellent idea. I was going to suggest something like that, really I was!

Sorry, I've just been having this ongoing argument with a Leninist/Trot/whatever (he was a member of SWP at some point) from CPI about running other people's struggles, and this notion of leafletting sounded suspiciously like this whole Party as the Engine that directs the Steam of Proletarian Discontent nonsense he was espousing. roll eyes

Glad to see that it's just the paranoid voices in my head again. Where's that damn tinfoil hat?

PS: By "you" I meant "the lot of youse," or somesuch, not you in particular, obviously.

Mike Harman
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Mar 27 2007 23:50

No worries, it was an off-hand comment, and reading back on it could have looked a bit weird offering up aerial maps of the plant. That there was a second strike is encouraging - could mean this will keep going rather than fizzle out.

How come you know how to use acronym tags and stuff by the way?!? I'm crap at remembering stuff like that.

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Tojiah
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Mar 28 2007 05:43

The formatting options page is pretty handy for that kind of stuff.

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Devrim
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Mar 28 2007 07:18

I think that Ernie was sloganising without having read all of the facts. I would see that as more lazy than dishonest. I think the best thing to do would be to admit it.

Quote:
No-one's disputing that the union has publicly urged people to go back to work and said they don't support the strike (and they'll have their funds seconded if they don't),

This seems to be used as an excuse for them. It shouldn't be.
Devrim

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Steven.
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Mar 28 2007 09:28
Devrim wrote:
I think that Ernie was sloganising without having read all of the facts. I would see that as more lazy than dishonest. I think the best thing to do would be to admit it.

Yes - but not only did he not admit it, he continued making the same dishonest claim on other threads. If he had just admitted it I would've not mentioned it again - especially since it's clear the union did tell strikers to return to work. As to them "initially downplaying it" that's obviously due to selective quoting and anti-worker bias in the media which almost always puts the word of the bosses over that of workers - or unions (particularly when making pro-worker statements). Things like this do not help the ICC's "conspiraloon" image they project with regard to the unions.

This is interesting, particularly the second shift walking out. Here's the quote from the worker in Evening Leader:

Quote:
The worker, who asked not to be named, said: "There was a meeting on Friday and we didn't like what we were hearing.

"They are taking away our profit bonuses, which bring in around 14,000 euros for us, but the management will still get theirs – how is that fair?

"They've also told us more than 300 jobs are going to be contracted out to agency staff. That's not part of the planned cuts, that's on top of that. The lads are furious."