Workers from the Ryton plant in Coventry, due to be closed by Peugeot, demonstrated outside a dealership in Birmingham alongside members of West Midlands Anarchists on Saturday.
This followed a wildcat strike by workers at the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port after an announcement that one shift was going to be dropped. This is likely to lead to 1,000 job losses at the plant, which produces the Astra series of cars. Workers downed tools immediately following the announcement and were joined by the next shift who refused to start work.
A report of Saturday's demonstration by a member of West Midlands Anarchists follows:
On Saturday 13th May 2006 Peugeot workers from the Ryton plant in Coventry along with anarchist militants from West Midlands Anarchists (WMA) took to the streets to protest against the planned closure of the plant next year. Around forty workers and anarchists some with there children demonstrated outside of the George Heath dealership in Birmingham.
The demonstration was well supported by members of the public who beeped there horns in support. There was a good positive atmosphere and the workers seemed determined to fight the closure and save their jobs. We had a lot of time to talk with workers and make contacts, many of the workers thanked us for being there and exchanged email addresses and numbers so we can coordinate further actions across the midlands and the globe!
Many were extremely critical of the union leadership which has been dragging them into pointless talks and dead ends, they were inspired by there comrades in Ellesmere port who downed tools immediately and hoped to emulate them in the near future. They was also encouraged by the support from workers from mainland Europe who will be next on Peugeot list for redundancies and cut backs, there is a possibility that there will be a Europe wide day of action which will be called by a collection of European unions.
West Midlands Anarchist then decided to take the demonstration to the city centre where we gave out 200 leaflets in 10 minutes. We spoke to a lot of shoppers and received a lot of support from the shoppers.
On the whole it was a good day, this weekend we will be in Coventry doing the same again. Full details TBC. The Ryton workers will be in Rugby so if you can spare a few hours go and show them your support.
Photos of the demonstration can be seen at: http://www.libcom.org/gallery/v/news/peugeot-130206/