Textile workers strike in Long Eaton

The TGWU has warned that textile workers could stage further action after they walked out of work yesterday in a strike over pay.

Submitted by Steven. on January 14, 2006

Dozens of workers at Nylatex downed tools because they claimed they had not had a pay rise in four years and that management had not budgeted for any increase this year.

At noon, 12 workers on the morning shift walked out of the Long Eaton firm two hours before the end of their shift, and the same number of workers on the afternoon and night shifts did the same.

They were all members of the Transport and General Workers' Union, which called the action.

Yesterday, from noon, three of the workers, with 100 years of service between them, staged a protest at the gates of the factory, in Fields Farm Road.

"It will be five years come April since we last had a pay rise," said shop steward John Caple, who takes home £212 a week from his job as a loader..

"They're trying to drive us down to minimum wages, even though we aren't much above that now."

Some of his colleagues clear just £206 for working a three-shift 39-hour week. None of them get extra for working nights.

He added: "We just want a rise in line with inflation, plus something for the loyalty we have shown over the past four years.

"But, every time we ask, they just say they haven't got the money and then threaten us that if they don't make a profit this year, they won't be here next year.

"They might as well put a tape recorder on the table because it's the same thing we're told every year," said Mr Caple.

Mr Caple has worked for the company, which makes material for underwear and sportswear, including the England Euro 2004 football shirts, for 29 years, while fellow strikers Steve Harrison and Phil Leivers have 27 and 44 years' service respectively. They were joined at the main gate by Diane Douglas, industrial organiser of the T &G.

She said the action included an overtime ban and could escalate if it failed to persuade management to negotiate a pay rise. Workers speculated that management may have to shut down some production.

Thirty-seven of the 142-strong workforce are members of the T&G. About 15 belong to Community, the textile workers' union. The Community members and non-union workers are not taking part in the industrial action.

The company refused to comment yesterday.

Edited from an article by Andrew Hibbard, Derbyshire Evening News