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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 August 2005, 05:12 GMT 06:12 UK
Benn backs national strike action
Jerry Hicks, Amicus union convenor
Jerry Hicks was sacked from his job last month
Veteran Labour politician Tony Benn has backed national strike action in support of a union convenor sacked from the Bristol Rolls-Royce plant.

He attended a 400-strong rally on Wednesday for Jerry Hicks, the Amicus convenor dismissed from his post after allegations of misconduct.

Mr Benn told the BBC: "It is a direct attack on the rights of working people who organise themselves."

A hearing is due to take place in the next six months into the dismissal.

Tony Benn's message to the rally was: "Back Jerry Hicks and the union. They are right. The company is wrong.

"I have known Rolls-Royce for 55 years. I think it is disgraceful.

"It is, in the end, a human question. Here is a guy who has worked for the company for years and years."

Amicus is demanding Mr Hicks' reinstatement with Rolls-Royce, and about 100 engineering workers at the Filton plant are to strike in support of him next Monday.

Mr Hicks said his fight for reinstatement at the Patchway plant would continue for "as long as it takes".

Rolls Royce has declined to comment.

Benn speaks at Rolls-Royce rally
17 Aug 05 |  Bristol/Somerset
Rolls-Royce ballot backs strike
11 Aug 05 |  Bristol/Somerset
Strike ballot due at Rolls-Royce
01 Aug 05 |  Bristol/Somerset
Rolls-Royce staff return to work
26 Jul 05 |  Bristol/Somerset
Staff stage Rolls-Royce walk-out
19 Jul 05 |  Bristol/Somerset

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