Croespenmaen Unilever workers strike to defend pensions

Pot noodle mine grinds to a halt

Unilever pickets

Unilever’s Pot Noodle mine came to a grinding halt today as the entire shop floor workforce at Unilever’s Croespenmaen factory near Crumlin in Gwent walked out on strike. 159 of the 160 workers turned up to picket today and even 100 agency workers in the factory have refused to cross picket lines.

Unilever is planning a massive attack on their worker's pensions by closing down its final salary pension scheme that its long-serving staff have worked hard for.

Only management, office workers (who have not been balloted) and security staff were in the factory. Management has been forced to send out the head of security every so often to complain about the number of pickets and where they are standing. Such a pathetic attempt at harassment has merely amused the workers who are in high spirits.

There was a lot of support for the public sector workers action last week in defence of their pensions schemes and support for the idea of co-ordinating their action with public sector workers. If Unilever does not withdraw its attempt to close down the final salary pension scheme then further action is planned for January which could easily be co-ordinated with a public sector pensions strike. "We need a general strike" one Croespenmaen worker declared "and the sooner the better".

Strangely, after all the Tory media propaganda about public sector ‘gold plated’ pensions being ‘unfair’ on private sector workers there has been virtually no coverage of the fight of the private sector Unilever workers’ strike to defend their pensions. And no Tory MPs were seen on the Croespenmaen picket line.

Unite say that, "Shutting down the scheme will wash the retirement plans of 5,000 workers down the drain - one worker has already estimated he will lose a massive £150,000 from his pension pot if he lives for just 15 years after he retires!"

This attack is taking place as Unilever announced an increase in pre tax profits at the beginning of 2011 up to a massive £5.2 billion! But Unilever worker's fight back along with their trade unions, Unite, Usdaw and GMB has now started with their first ever national strike action. All workers must support their fight.

This government want to divide workers over pensions by pitting public against private sector but all workers' pensions are under attack. We need to build links between public and private sector workers to stop the attacks on all pensions. We need to fight together!

It's vital that the TUC name a date for the next public sector general strike action by the end of January. Already Unison Scotland has voted unanimously for a further day of coordinated action on 25 January.

NSSN activists have an important role to play by getting resolutions passed in their union branches and with petitions etc to put pressure on our union leaders to organise further coordinated strike action to include private sector workers where possible.

You can also support Unilever workers as they battle against this attack on pensions by;

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