Kone workers on the Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead have escalated their action from a series of one day strikes to a two week all-out stoppage. The strikers all feel this has been necessary because of the company’s lack of commitment to finding a settlement.
Unite have urged the bosses of the Finnish owned company to, “knock heads together” of their UK company. The dispute is about ensuring a tracking system, known as VAMS, is not used as a disciplinary tool by management.
Strikers on the picket line have explained how unreliable this system is. In one case VAMS registered that a van had been driven for 1000 miles without refuelling.
A previous Acas meeting broke down after 10 hours when Kone management walked out. Unite had put forward an 8 point proposal to Kone management, with the intention of resolving the dispute. On the picket line there is clear anger that management said it would take 7 – 10 days to reply to this proposal.
Clearly the escalation of strike action has concentrated the mind of Kone management and through Acas they have requested another meeting on Thursday, 27th May, with a view to settling the dispute.
The strikers are resolute that they want to stay out for the two weeks. One worker even proposed that they stayed out until next May if needs be!
Since the strike started there has been an increase in Unite membership amongst Kone workers, and no-one has dropped out of the union because of the action being taken. This shows that when a union fights for its members it attracts new layers of workers into its midst.
The mood on the picket line remains rock solid and the strikers have been heartened by support from other workers on the Team Valley Trading Estate.
The main Kone sites are at Chertsey in Surrey, Gateshead, Glasgow, Keighley in Yorkshire and Warrington.
Messages of support to: 07500008894