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BBC Wales's Laura Jones
"The workers are assuming that they are now unemployed"
 real 56k

BBC Wales's Laura Jones
"The workers remain defiant that the fight goes on"
 real 56k

Monday, 2 July, 2001, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Law change call over Dynamex workers
Dynamex Frictionfactory near Caernarfon
Workers at the plant were dismissed under new laws
Union leaders have called for a review of employment laws after workers at a north Wales factory were sacked following a strike against plans to cut their pay and increase hours.

The 87 workers at the Dynamex Friction engineering company at Caernarfon last week became the first to be dismissed under employment legislation which was aimed at giving protection to anyone taking industrial action.

Under the 1999 Employment Relations Act strikers cannot be sacked for eight weeks, but union officials complained on Monday that the latest case proves it gives "no protection".

T&G WU General Secretary Bill Morris
Bill Morris: Condemned 'vicious anti-trade union attack'

The workers - all members of the Transport and General Workers Union - went into dispute at the end of April in protest at 15% pay cuts - worth about 40 a week - the ending of shift pay and introduction of longer working days with no overtime.

They voted overwhelmingly to strike but were locked out after taking action and received dismissal notices by registered post last week.

Bill Morris, general secretary of the T & G, said: "I strongly condemn this vicious anti-trade union attack."

"These dismissals demonstrate the inadequacies of the current law to give protection to workers engaged in lawful industrial action.

"We will be asking the government to bring forward a review of the legislation which events show provides no protection against anti-union employers."

Sarah Veale, senior employment rights officer at the TUC, said the case reinforced concerns that the eight-week cut-off point was "arbitrary and unfair".

Striking staff at the Friction Dynamics factory
Workers were on strike for nine weeks

The T&G said there had been no pay rise at the factory since it was bought by American businessman Craig Smith in 1997.

The union claims that over the past two years union meetings have been banned on the site, the union office was closed and workers were told they had to change clothes and wash outside working hours.

Despite several attempts to resolve the dispute by the conciliation service ACAS both sides remain in a bitter deadlock.

Earlier this month a meeting between managers at the plant, union representatives, and mediators failed to bring an end to the industrial action.

The strikers were sent letters saying they must agree to the changes in their working conditions by Tuesday afternoon and return to work on Wednesday or they would be fired.

The union's Welsh regional secretary, Jim Hancock, said the conduct of management at the plant had been "absolutely disgraceful".

A spokesman for the company said he had no comment to make on the disputes.

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See also:

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