Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The People's Flag Is Deepest Red, Since Lil-lets We Have Boycotted

My trade union, Unite, is very hot on protection of members' pension rights. For example, when Ineos, who run the Grangemouth refinery, decided not only to close their final salary pension scheme to new entrants but to shift existing members from a non-contributory to a contributory scheme with no increased benefits (i.e giving them all a pay cut) they found themselves staring down the wrong end of a strike.

Well, Lil-lets manufacturers Electra not only closed their last British factory last year and exported its jobs to Taiwan and Poland; it also offered the workers it was making redundant substantially worse pension arrangements than had been offered in previous redundancies. It will come as no surprise that Unite took a dim view of this, and is currently running a boycott of Lil-lets:

Unite is leading a boycott campaign against Lil-lets who closed their last UK factory and exported production to Taiwan and Poland . The aim of the campaign is to get Lil-lets private equity owners, Electra back to the negotiating table over the pensions of the Lil-lets older workers. In past redundancy situations Lil-lets paid extra into the pension fund so that workers who took their pension early would not suffer a reduction. However when Lil-lets closed their last UK factory in June 2007, the company refused to do so.

As a result 46 older workers will now receive up to 30 per cent less pension than they had hoped if they take their pension early. This means they now face a very different retirement than they were planning for.

All negotiations to date have failed and Unite believes a boycott of Lil-lets is the best way to make private equity company Electra do what we believe to be the right thing.

Unite has produced ‘Period Drama' to highlight Lil-lets boycott


Entitled 'A Period Drama' the lighthearted film calls on its viewers to boycott Lil-lets. The film went out as a ‘viral email' to union members who were asked to forward the link to their friends and colleagues.

Derek Simpson, Unite Joint General Secretary says: "The power of the internet gives unions the potential to go beyond it membership and reach out directly to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people and influence their consumer choices.

We've taken the period drama genre and used it to highlight one of the biggest issues facing this country – the exportation of UK jobs to low cost countries and the effect this has on the people who suffer the consequences."

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