No job losses – save our site!

In February EE/BT Group initiated a voluntary leavers package for all staff coupled with an announcement that this site was not part of their future strategy.

Below is a leaflet text written by Socialist Party activists in the CWU for a protest in defence of jobs at an EE site in Enniskillen.

In February EE/BT Group initiated a voluntary leavers package for all staff coupled with an announcement that this site was not part of their future strategy. This was the beginning of a brutal campaign to force over 300 workers in the Enniskillen contact centre to sign away their own jobs. 

This has been labelled a disgrace by the workers union, the local population and politicians. A campaign involving public meetings and pressure on the company to rescind their attack has been initiated including today’s rally. However this offensive by the employer is not alone and comes as a general offensive against workers who’ve taken strike action to defend their wages in the past 2 years. Workers have been sacked or generally made to suffer for taking industrial action. Coupled with an ongoing economic crisis companies like EE/BT Group are looking to maximise profits by reducing their workforce and making the remainder work more. 

These job losses and site closure are part of a “site rationalisation” plan and workforce reductions announced by the company. In reality this will mean the removal of hundreds of above average paying jobs from the surrounding community. If successful there will be 300 fewer jobs available to keep young people and their families in the county. Further driving down the living standards and decline of the local area. All this to boost the profits of a major multinational corporation that has received significant state funding and was handed a major utility for free on privatisation. 

Workers solidarity to Enniskillen workers

EE Enniskillen workers have been offered solidarity and sympathy from across the political spectrum, local business and fellow workers. However it’s been a vital lesson of the past few years of strike action is that sympathetic words are nice but workers solidarity can transform individual campaigns into significantly stronger co-ordinated action. Today many public sector and health workers will be offering solidarity to their colleagues. These same workers took strike action bringing about a near regional general strike on 18 January which played a key role in pressuring the politicians back to Stormont and a step in the ongoing fight for an inflation busting pay rise. Yet like EE workers facing their employer these workers will be fighting pay suppression, cuts to services and the priority of profit over public need introduced by these very same politicians – not least the Bengoa report on health which would further privatise health care in NI which all the main parties have signed up to.

Workers have to rely on their own strength

In recent weeks EE have ramped up their bullying of the workforce to get people to sign their own jobs away in order to make the site closure a fait accompli. In response workers and their union should up the ante with public pressure and a worker led campaign to keep the jobs at this site or any suitable site in the town, offer packages for those ready to retire but maintain the level of jobs on site and keep the work in the local area. Why must a company that controls such an important aspect of our everyday life such as the internet be allowed to take government funds/infrastructure, decimate workers pay/conditions and now throw a whole section of their workforce on the scrap heap be allowed to continue to remain outside of public ownership and control?

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