by Billy Flynn, Militant Left
The long running dispute between workers and Instant Upright, based in Citywest, has taken a sharp turn with news that the striking workers have been sacked from their jobs. The workers had successfully prevented the company’s attempts to move manufacturing equipment from the factory in Citywest to a new facility in Latvia under the cover of the Coronavirus lockdown. Disgracefully, Instant Upright bosses are using the excuse that the striking workers didn’t take part in disciplinary hearings, on advice from their trade union Connect, to justify these sackings.
The workers, many of whom have decades of service with Instant Upright, have been on strike since May looking for proper redundancy pay. But now with their dismissal, they may not even be entitled to minimum statutory redundancy.
This is another example of bosses like Australian multimillionaire Ric Stowe – who owns Instant Upright – using the pandemic to trample on the rights of the very same workers whose hard labour created the company’s extensive profits and his own personal wealth.
Instant Upright’s workers need the support of all workers and the trade union movement. Every worker should be aware of what is happening, not just with Instant Upright but also the Debenhams workers. Be sure: other employers are watching and will be inspired by the rotten behaviour of these companies, to stab their own workers in the back. Instant Upright bosses must be faced down by the labour movement.
We call on all union members to build a democratic solidarity campaign, support the picket line and put pressure on their union leaders to fight for the rights of Instant Upright workers and all workers facing these attacks by their employers. We call for the repeal of anti-worker legislation that allows bosses to get away with treating their workers like disposable commodities.
We demand the immediate reinstatement of the Instant Upright workers and full redundancy pay that reflects their years of service.
Don’t let the bosses kid you that they are on your side and that we’re all in this together, we are clearly not. As the old labour movement slogan says: an injury to one is an injury to all; the labour movement must stand by the Instant Upright workers in their fight for justice.