Britain: Rob Williams reinstatement a victory for all workers

Workers’ solidarity forces Linamar bosses back

Rob Williams, leading Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) member and vice-chair of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN), has won his campaign against Linamar management in Swansea, who summarily sacked him without notice for an "irretrievable breakdown of trust".

The news of Rob William’s unconditional reinstatement as convenor in the Linamar car parts factory in Swansea is a victory for all workers and militant trade unionism.

First of all, this victory is down to the marvellous solidarity shown by the Linamar workers in Rob William’s plant – the Unite members who refused, under tremendous intimidation, to accept Rob’s sacking.

They not only stood by him, but were prepared to take all-out strike action, for as long as it took, to get Rob his job back. The Linamar workforce were prepared to strike so that Rob could take his proper place in the factory as their elected convenor of the Unite shop stewards.

Support

This victory is also down to the tremendous support that Rob Williams received from around Wales, from the UK as a whole and, indeed, many other countries as well.

The big show of support for Rob at a mass rally of workers in Swansea, which took place the week he was sacked, demonstrated from the beginning that he was not alone and that many other were prepared to come to this aid.

The victory at Linamar is also down to the solid support that Rob had from Unite the union and its general secretary, Tony Woodley. The union has not always acted in this way in vital industrial struggles recently but we hope now that this will be a benchmark for the future.

As part of the campaign, Rob was sent by Woodley to the Ford assembly plant in Kansas, USA. This plant is the main recipient of the parts from the Swansea Linamar plant. It soon became clear that the plant in Kansas was already in deep trouble due to difficulties with supplies from Swansea. If an all-out-strike had started at Linamar, Ford would have had to shut the Kansas plant down for the duration.

Final straw

This pressure was clearly the final straw for the Linamar bosses, and they realised they were on to a loser if they maintained their victimisation of Rob.

Rob Williams would like to thank all those who sent messages of support and financial donations to the campaign.

The demo on Saturday which was planned in Swansea is now cancelled but there will be a victory rally in the near future.

This victory shows that the workers can fight back against victimisations and all that the bosses throw at us. This campaign should be seen as a benchmark for all future struggles, particularly following on from the victories at Visteon and the Lindsey Oil Refinery plants earlier this year.

Rob will be a platform speaker at the National Shop Stewards Network conference on Saturday 27 June in London. See the Socialist Party website for details.

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