Britain: Rob Williams, union Convenor at Linamar plant, Swansea, sacked by brutal bosses

Step up the struggle – Messages of protest needed urgently!

Rob Williams, trade union Convenor of Linamar car components plant, Swansea, was sacked by the Linamar management last week, and then temporarily re-instated following militant action by the Linamar workforce.

Disgracefully, however, Rob today had his sacking confirmed yesterday (6/05/09). Negotiations between Linamar management and Tony Woodley, a national leader of Rob’s union, UNITE, took place all day in London, but Linamar did not shift.

Meanwhile at the Swansea plant, Linamar bosses revealed their brutality. Massive intimidation of the workforce took place – including foremen going around the shop floor threatening workers with the sack if they dared walk out in support of Rob. The bosses even went to the ludicrous lengths of removing the door from Rob’s trade union office.

This brutal action by Linamar is an attempt to return to the Nineteenth century. What Linamar do not realise, however, is that all hell is going to break loose when workers, both in the Swansea and the wider labour movement, hear how Rob and his members have been treated.

Militant, fighting trade unionism needs strengthened

The official reason for his sacking was “irretrievable breakdown of trust” – one of the most blatant excuses to behead a trade union organisation ever used in any factory. Rob’s record in standing up for his members, both inside and outside the factory, is second to none. However, what is at stake here is not the fate of one individual but the right for workers to be represented by the best militant fighters.

This sacking has to be totally opposed. The union has promised rapid action to organise a ballot for an official strike, but the anti-trade union laws mean this could still take up to a month between the ballot and the strike action actually taking place. The process, which must be kept a short as possible, needs to be used to make all possible efforts to support Rob. Messages of support and donations should flood in.

If Linamar management are allowed to get away with this, no union convenor or shop steward, either in the already weakened car industry or in the wider trade union movement, is safe. Allow the employers to inflict a defeat here and no trade unionist, shop steward, let alone a convenor, will be able to put their head above the parapet without the bosses seeking to cut it off.

Workers are facing the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Big business is doing their utmost to make sure that it is the working class that pays for the crisis. Militant, fighting trade unionism – symbolised by Rob Williams and the union organisation in Linamar – must not only be preserved but strengthened in order to prepare the working class for the capitalist offensive that is under way in Britain and worldwide.

Continue to phone protests to:

Head of Swansea Linamar Brian Wade 01792 656339

Personnel Manager 01792 656238

Messages of protest to linda.hasenfratz@linamar.com

Messages of support to Rob Williams: robbo@redwills.freeserve.co.uk

and Socialist Party Wales: socialistpartywales@btinternet.com

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