Primark workers set for strike action

Primark workers in Northern Ireland have been balloted for potential strike action against efforts by management to freeze their pay for a second year running.

A consultative ballot was held before Christmas by the Usdaw union, with 95% of members voting in favour of holding a ballot for industrial action.

Most Primark workers earn just £6.84 an hour, and with the prices of food, utilities and transport rocketing, millions of low-paid workers are struggling to make ends meet.

In 2010, workers accepted a pay freeze, but Primark bosses again refused to offer any increase this year – despite making a £309million profit.

Usdaw has around 640 members spread across Primark’s eight stores in Northern Ireland, around 85% of the total number of employees.

This action comes just a few days after workers at a La Senza store in Dublin occupied it after they were sacked without pay.

Retail workers, who are mainly young, low-paid women have been hit hard by the recession. Temporary contracts and high turnover are used to undermine union membership.

In order to cut costs and maximise profits, bosses are forcing workers to accept attacks on pay, job security and workplace rights.

Determined action at Primark would be an inspiring demonstration of why resistance is possible and necessary.

The bosses use the courts, media, politicians and ‘public opinion’ to attack every case of workers going on strike to defend themselves.

But the courts, bosses, media and politicians are not accountable to people whose livelihoods they are wrecking.

Going on strike exposes the divide in society between those who must work for a living, and the minority who live off the value created by those who work for them.

Exposing this class system and fighting for an alternative is more necessary than ever.



 

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