Support workers at Bron Afon Housing Association in Cwmbran have just completed their fourth day of strike action with growing support from the trade union movement. They are taking action against a £3000 a year pay cut and an end to collective bargaining with the introduction of spot wages (see earlier article).
But still the housing association board, which is mainly publicly-funded, has refused to budge on the central issues of the strike. It has merely offered one-off £500 payments to compensate for £3000 a year wage reductions.
But Bron Afon workers are even more determined to win this battle and are preparing to escalate strike action from one to a series of five days of action. After the next strike on August 10 a five day action will be called on August 16 until August 22 and another a week later.
Trade unionists from Cardiff Trades Council, Newport Trades Council, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly have joined local Unison members in supporting Bron Afon workers at their picket line. Most Bron Afon workers not directly involved in the dispute have hooted their support and a number of deliveries have turned away from the picket line. But now this support must be stepped up.
Inevitably other third sector employers will be watching this dispute to see if they can get away with imposing wage cuts and undermining wages and conditions further. As more and more council services have been outsourced an increasing number of council work is carried out by arms-length companies or the ‘voluntary’ sector who are doing the dirty work of the councils on behalf of the Tories in cutting jobs, services, pay and conditions of ex-council workers.
So trade unionists across South Wales should rally in support of Bron Afon workers and support their next strike – 7.30 am Thursday 10th August outside Bron Afon Housing Association, William Brown Close, Cwmbran NP44 3AB.