Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick plant

The strike at Rolls-Royce's Barnoldswick plant continues to go strong despite the vindictive actions of management, reports Chris Neville

An escalation in the ongoing dispute at Rolls-Royce, Barnoldswick last week saw the company close the factory down, locking out workers and proceeding with their offshoring of jobs, despite previous guarantees this would not happen.

In a hasty and ill-thought-out move, the company initially announced that it would be furloughing the non-striking parts of the site's workforce - a direct contravention of the government's furlough guidelines. Unite challenged this decision and bosses at Rolls-Royce quickly changed course to say they would instead continue paying their workers over the shutdown.

The strike, which has been ongoing since 6th November and was originally planned to last for three weeks, was recently extended to other departments at the site and stretched out to last until Christmas Eve. It was on the back of this extension that Rolls-Royce decided to close the factory.

Rolls-Royce has announced that during the lockout, work to supply similar parts manufactured at the Barnoldswick will be handled in Spain, Japan and Singapore.

Unite described the move to close the site as "an act of industrial self-mutilation". Regional officer Ross Quinn said:

“The company has shown absolutely no appetite to resolve the dispute. The decision to lock workers out of Barnoldswick before Christmas and to immediately offshore work at the factory demonstrates that Rolls-Royce has no intention of negotiating or consulting its loyal workers on its plans."

Striking workers show no sign of backing down and the management's vindictive actions will not deter them. They have received solidarity from across the trade unions, Jeremy Corbyn and figures and activists in the wider movement. We must continue to do everything we can to support their struggle.