Happy Wade-ing

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Originally published on This is the Sentinel  By Jim Pendrill

Strikers on the picket line at troubled Wade Ceramics have spoken of their fears after being told they would be sacked unless they signed new contracts. 

Many workers fearful for their jobs at the Burslem pottery are now reported to be satisfied with their agreements and say they are reluctant to go on strike.

Two more one-day walkouts are planned for next week, but it has been revealed that some workers walked through picket lines on a strike day last week.

But the Ceramic and Allied Trades Union claims the overwhelming majority of workers are still in support of industrial action and the strike is still ''very strong.''

Yesterday outside the factory gates workers told of the low morale at the firm.

One woman who has been with Wade eight years said: ''The stakes seem to have changed now and a lot of people are scared for their jobs. It's all getting nasty.

''Some people promised wage rises are happy with their contracts and quite a few came in when we had a strike last week.''

Another worker added: ''There is really low morale around the factory and the dispute is changing everyone.

''The management are trying to divide us. Friend-ships are being split as some people want to come in and others want to stay out.''

Another worker with 16 years experience resented the company's tactics, but thought it was only making workers more determined.

She added: ''Everyone has found this letter so threatening. They are simply saying if you don't agree to the new conditions, you are down the road. We do not trust them.''

CATU general secretary Geoff Bagnall said: ''The overwhelming majority of workers still support the dispute and as far as we are concerned the strike is still very strong.

''We understand the fears of workers, as there is always the possibility of workers getting dismissed for going on strike. But it is our job to ensure that doesn't happen.''

Wade workers have been staging days of action for six weeks after negotiations over a new pay and conditions package broke down.

No one from Wade's was available for comment today.

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