Donations and messages of support have poured in for Cammell Laird shipyard workers who began 10 weeks of strike action today (November 23).
Around 250 workers at the Birkenhead shipyard will take part in three weeks of rolling strikes and an overtime ban set to last until February in defence of their jobs, amid plans to slash the workforce by 40 per cent.
In a show of unity, staff downed tools en masse and walked out of the yard at 3pm today.
The strikers received an outpouring of support on social media, as well as donations to their strike fund.
Twitter user Beth Redmond posted, “Unite the Union members at Cammell Lairds in Birkenhead are going on strike to save jobs – write to your MP to pressure government to sit down for discussions on job losses and donate to strike fund.”
Unite North West region’s young members chair Victoria Eagerton also tweeted her support, saying, “Solidarity with Cammell Laird workers walking out of Cammell Laird gates together at 3pm today! We’ve got to stand up and protect jobs.”
Solidarity with the workers also came in the form of donations to their fighting fund.
Unite British Aerospace members sent a cheque for £3,000, while Thomas Cooke Cabin Crew members sent £500.
One donor, identified only as Sue, explained why she was moved to send financial aid to the workers.
She said, “I have donated in memory of my dad who many a time was on strike at Lairds. I as a child understood the hardship that it put through my family through.”
Unnecessary job cuts
The workers decided to strike over Cammell Laird’s “unnecessary” job cuts which would see 291 jobs axed by March 2019, despite the shipyard recently winning two contracts worth a total of £619 million to support and maintain ships for the Royal Navy.
Unite is fearful that the company wants to casualise the workforce in a move that will see vital shipbuilding skills lost for a generation, as full-time jobs are replaced by agency labour.
Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said, “Cammell Laird bosses should be in no doubt of the determination of the workforce to defend their jobs and take a stand against these unnecessary job cuts that could see people out of a job before Christmas.
“Unite members will not sit back and allow their livelihoods to be casualised for bosses’ own cost cutting ends.”
Messages of solidarity to the Cammell Laird workers can sent be on social media under the hashtag #TurnTheTideonCasualisation.
Those wishing to donate to the strike fund can do so here.