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Peter Hadden

EEPTU must back this fight

(October 1980)

From Militant [UK], No. 526, 1 October 1980.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Ciaran Crossey.

EEPTU members at Stability Electronics in Antrim, Northern Ireland, have been on strike for almost three weeks.

The dispute began when management imposed a new rule that their workers, all women, must in future ask permission before going to the toilet.

Five workers were sacked and 14 others sent home for refusing to obey this degrading rule. The rest of the production workers came out in support.

For two weeks the majority of the 250 EEPTU members supported the strike. Picketing effectively stopped deliveries to the company. The dispute was well set on the road to victory, the reinstatement of the victimised workers and the withdrawal of the toilet rule.

Lack of support from EEPTU full time officials in Belfast has swung the issue in management’s favour however.

A deadline set by the strikers for official support expired on 24 October. It was at this stage that the workers learned that the union officials had held a private meeting with management at management’s request, on the condition that none of the strikers be present.

A deal arranged at that meeting was totally rejected by the strikers. In frustration the majority of the workers decided to go back to work until they heard further from the union.

Meanwhile the 19 victimised workers have been left outside the gates. “We will fight on regardless,” one picket told us.

EEPTU members and branches in Britain can assist by backing these workers and demanding of their union that the strike is made official. In addition the electrical components made by Stability, itself a subsidiary of Lucas, should be blacked.

Messages of support and financial donations from all sections of the labour movement in Britain would be welcome. These should be sent to: Kathleen Moran, Stability Electronics Strike Committee, Antrim, Northern Ireland.

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