Union Eyes: Kennon Auto workers win!

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Members of the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union at Kennon Auto have scored a resounding victory. The Preston plant makes carpet and other fittings for Toyota. Management refused to negotiate with the union, tried to turn workers against each other and used bullying tactics to pressure workers to resign from the union. In response, the largely immigrant workforce took strike action. Their goal was a union negotiated agreement, which maintained all existing conditions and delivered a desperately needed pay rise.

The Kennon workers picketed the factory for 19 days. Their determination won support from the community and members of other unions. Workers from nearby factories walked off the job at crucial moments to bolster the picket. Kennon management was forced to negotiate when the site was blockaded — nothing in or out — for seven days. With production halted and stockpiles gone, this hit Toyota’s bottom line.

The Kennon workers won their demands in full, proving that, even with restrictive laws and the police backing the bosses, militancy and solidarity is a winning combination. The Freedom Socialist Party congratulates Zarko, Vicki, Steve and all of the other determined strikers we met on the picket line. Your leadership is an inspiration!

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