Rob Williams, a well-known union activist
and Unite union convenor at the Linamar car
parts site in Swansea (once owned by Visteon),
was called into the management office last Tuesday and without warning given
the sack. Why? Officially because of a ‘breakdown in trust and confidence’ (what
ever that means!) but in reality because of the role of the union in
challenging the bosses attempts to run the factory down.
Rob promptly locked himself into his office
refusing to leave whilst at the same time 100 workers walked off the factory
floor in solidarity with him. Later that day the police arrived – having
nothing else to do evidently – in order to attempt to remove Rob by force. Once they saw the workers surrounding Rob’s
office they backed away.
It has been noted that Linamar has been
steadily laying workers off over the last period;140 in the last few months
alone and have been more than keen to try and weaken union resistance in
advance. According to the UKIndymedia site:LINAMAR is a Canadian
Multi-National Corporation who on their website describe themselves as ‘THE
EMPLOYER OF CHOICE’, but are known to be virulently anti-union. Working
conditions at the Corporations plants in countries such as Mexico and South Korea are said to be appalling
and all Union activity is banned.
It must have annoyed the Swansea site bosses to see the union standing
up for decent conditions for the workers there.
Messages of support have flooded in not
least from those occupying the Visteon sites and a number of the workers from
the Belfast Visteon site have now dropped in on the Linamar factory to give
After further protests the management have
now got cold feet and reinstated Rob on full pay pending a ‘review’ next week.
If they again move to sack him then workers should be ready to lend support and
show the management that no trade unionist is ever alone.
A week later and management have decided to ‘confirm’ the sacking despite negioations between Unite officers and the company. The doors to the union office on site have been removed and workers threatened with the sack if they protest at the sacking. Further protests seem likely
Messages of support can be sent to the
Wales Unite office at Andy.Richards@unitetheunion.com.