Members of Unite the Union at the Rolls-Royce factory in Barnoldswick, Lancashire have saved their jobs — and the economy of their local community — through aggressive struggle, including nine weeks of strike action.
After Rolls-Royce announced that it was transferring the production of its Trent jet engine blade work to Singapore last summer, the union and community launched a campaign to prevent closure. That campaign won an agreement, ratified by the workers last week, to maintain manufacturing at the plant for at least ten years, with a minimum of 350 jobs. The company will use the site to develop advanced manufacturing work, supporting carbon free energy generation, along with synthetic fuels and green technologies.
UE’s officers sent a solidarity letter to Unite members in November, saying, “We commend your struggle to retain this work. Rolls-Royce has used your membersí labor to become the successful multinational corporation they are today. We hope your strike reinforces for them how important the highly skilled Barnoldswick workers are.”
UNITE International Officer Ben Richards said, “The messages of support really meant a great deal and we know the letters that many of you also sent to the company had a real impact in increasing the pressure to reach a settlement. This struggle has shown that international solidarity really does matter and it does work.
“I cannot express in words the boost in morale the international letters of support provided to those on the picket line, to know that they were not alone in their struggle.”