Staff at Queen’s University Belfast crèche walked out of their workplace, calling for better pay and working conditions, and then – in an exemplary act of workers’ solidarity in Belfast today – marched through the streets to join factory workers at the Hovis plant who also began their strike today calling for a 10% pay increase.
On the day which later saw the selection of the divisive Edwin Poots to head the regressive Democratic Unionist Party, it was inspiring to see this proud display of steady working class solidarity in Belfast.
People Before Profit offer our full support to the workers at Queen’s and Hovis who are taking strike action today. We call on their management to immediately get back around the table and offer a substantial pay increase and better working conditions.
If the COVID pandemic has taught us anything it is that frontline workers deserve better, better pay, better conditions and better treatment across the board. These workers have worked hard throughout the past year to supply our city with food and childcare, often at times risking their own health and the health of their families, in order to allow others to stay at home and shield from the virus. We are all in their debt and those employers who were quick to applaud frontline workers last year now need to deliver.
People Before Profit are deeply concerned that so far pay talks at Hovis have been unsuccessful, and that Queen’s University have refused their workers’ demands. We view minimal percentage pay offers as a slap in the face to workers who risked their own health and deserve better.
We commend workers who have decided to vote with their feet and take industrial action today—your fight is one that demands solidarity from all other workers and trade unions. They decided to recognise each other today in an example of solidarity we can all follow. We encourage the workers from both disputes to stay in contact and demonstrate the links between the disputes.
We urge the employers to resolve this dispute by getting back around the table and offering their staff a substantial pay increase and better working conditions for frontline workers. Until then, People Before Profit will support workers in these disputes in every way we can. Solidarity.