Survitec workers continue determined strike for decent pay

Around 160 workers at liferaft and lifejacket manufacturer Survitec have been on strike since June 1st. Following the insulting pay offer of only 6% by the company, workers organised to take action.

By Ann Orr

Around 160 workers at liferaft and lifejacket manufacturer Survitec have been on strike since June 1st. Following the insulting pay offer of only 6% by the company, workers organised to take action. A 100% vote for strike action on an 80% turnout is an indication of the determination that is also evident on the picket line on a daily basis. Delivery truck drivers have been convinced to not pass the picket and well organised shifts are ensuring an unwavering approach from early morning to late afternoon at the factory gate.

The company is a leading manufacturer of marine and aircraft safety equipment with packed order books. As Neil Moore, Unite the union officer and Socialist Party member has pointed out “The cost of the pay increase sought by the workers is less than one percent of this company’s total sales. In an unprecedented inflationary period where its sales have increased by more than 130% over pre-pandemic levels – Survitec can easily afford to pay their employees – even by a small increase to the cost of their product. .

“We’re all sticking together”

Most workers we spoke to on the picket line are experiencing their first ever strike. Of course the key issue is about pay and the fight for an inflation-busting pay rise. But it is equally clear that for the workers this is also about respect and dignity at work. Taking a stand after a huge increase in workloads and pressure; bullying tactics remain unchallenged and a complete absence of thanks for those who worked on essential production during the pandemic is what workers here are doing.

From organising BBQs to bringing hand-made placards and holding impromptu conga dances to  making sure that passing traffic shows support through beeping their horns – Survitec workers continue to show their resolve to maintain this strike. The sense of solidarity is evident and expressed by workers very clearly. One said “It’s different this time. This time we are all sticking together”.

Survitec bosses would do well to recognise this as they have now twice offered an only marginally improved 8% pay rise – still well below current inflation rates! 

Solid picket lines & self organisation

Supported by their union, workers at Survitec have organised this strike with incredibly attention to detail. Regular meetings have been held in the run up to the action to discuss plans and any concerns. Gate meetings and discussions are continuing the action to make collective and democratic decisions about “offers” but also about how to run the pickets. It was this approach of involvement of members that has also been cited as a key reason why union membership had been increasing solidly in recent months. These are important strengths that should be assimilated by workers in other factories and sectors.

Even though mainstream media coverage has been limited, the strike is already inspiring others to take action with workers in other manufacturing sites 

To show your solidarity, visit the picket line on Kingsway, Dunmurry.

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