Over 500 workers at the Caterpillar plant in Peterlee vote unanimously to ballot for an all-out indefinite strike against a pay freeze and attacks on working conditions. The vote, taken by a good old fashioned show of hands, came at a determined mass meeting held in the leisure centre of the County Durham town last Saturday. Workers are fighting a plan by the management of the US-owned multinational to impose a three-year pay freeze and rip up agreements with the union.
Saturday's all-out strike vote came after a series of one-day strikes in recent weeks, which continued as workers in the dumper truck plant walked out again on Tuesday. Next week will see one-day stoppages on Tuesday and Friday. If the bosses still refuse to move then an all-out strike is due to start on 18 February.
Workers, members of the Amicus union formed from the merger of the AEEU and MSF unions recently, are determined to show that the company cannot simply do what it wants. 'What is the point of negotiating agreements if management can ignore them whenever they feel like it?' said one worker.
A ballot, in order to comply with anti-union laws, was being held this week on whether to go for all-out action. Given the determination shown in Saturday's vote, the ballot result looks a safe bet.