17 March 2015
Angry strikers set to escalate dispute:250 Bridgwater fruit-juice makers resolve to see out their David and Goliath struggle against foreign-owned company to bitter endFifty Unite the Union demonstrators, a familiar sight at the Express Park roundabout at the north end of the Bristol Rd in Bridgwater for months now, were still in determined mood yesterday.This was their seventh 36-hour strike protest against plans by Refresco-Gerber to radically worsen pay and conditions at the factory, which produces household-name fruit juices.At least three more stoppages have been planned for the next two weeks.Unite the Union officer Roy Winter said:“Our members contribute their working lives to this factory, which makes a handsome profit for Refresco-Gerber.Unfortunately, under new owners whose HQ is now in Rotterdam, those profits are not enough: the plan is to double or treble them at the expense of Unite members sick pay, shift allowances, pay protection. We are talking here of corporate greed, nothing more or less.Refresco-Gerber is making a bad mistake. There has been a recognised union organisation here for nearly fifty years: Unite the Union will not walk away from this dispute until the company agree an acceptable settlement.”Two mass meetings will be held on the 16th & 17th March to inform Unite members involved in the dispute of the latest negotiations.Future 36-hour strikes are set for Wednesday /Thursday the 18th/19thMarch, 0645am to 1900pm; Tuesday/Wednesday 24th/25thMarch, 0645am to 1900pm; Wednesday/Thursday 1st /2nd April, 0645am to 1900pm. Trades unionists are welcome at picket lines, key times are 7am/7pm.