MMP workers take lockout defiance into Europe

by - 29th February 2012, 7.15 GMT

Locked out workers from Mayr-Melnhof Packaging (MMP) in Bootle, Merseyside (pictured) are calling on their European colleagues to support them in a campaign to fight ‘unfair’ redundancy terms being forced on them by management.

Unite representatives are to meet representatives of their sister union Ver.di and the Austrian graphical union for talks in Germany today.

The workers hope to enlist the support of their fellow counterparts within other MMP factories across Europe.

It comes as local reps are also scheduled to meet MMP management at a so-far undisclosed location.

Workers at the Austrian packaging firm’s multi-national site, who produce packaging for the food industry, are in dispute over unfair selection for redundancy and the terms being offered to 37 staff.

The 149 workers have been locked out of the Bootle site since 18 February after a series of strikes that began on 10 February.

Ahead of the visit, Unite regional officer, Phil Morgan said: “MMP workers have been heartened by the amount of support they have been given since the dispute began earlier this month.

“They will be travelling to Germany tomorrow to make sure their European colleagues are aware of how UK management are treating its workforce and the implications the lock out will have on other European sites.

“Locked out workers are standing up for what they believe is fair and right.

“It takes two to resolve this dispute and MMP must put a stop to this lock out and open meaningful talks.”

Unite members at the sister plant in Deeside are also concerned about the situation in Bootle. They are raising those concerns with MMP management and seeking assurances from the company that there will be no reduction in the redundancy agreement covering staff in North Wales.

If no assurances are forthcoming then members at Deeside could seek a ballot for industrial action.

Watch our video report here on the continuing strike action at the Bootle site: