Thousands march in Timex sackings protest

THREE arrests were made yesterday during angry scenes at two noisy demonstrations in support of 340 sacked Timex workers.

About 1,000 people gathered at the company's plant in Dundee for a mass demonstration at the start of the dispute's 11th week.

Later, 6,000 protesters took part in a Scottish Trades Union Council- sponsored march and rally in support of the sacked workers. The banner- carrying and chanting marchers, led by the AEEU engineering union, passed the factory before holding a rally in a nearby park.

A heavy police presence at the morning picket ensured that buses carrying workers who have replaced the sacked 340 were able to enter the factory, as protesters pushed, shouted and waved placards.

A Tayside Police spokesman said that the majority of protesters were noisy but well behaved. 'Three persons were apprehended following incidents near to the factory gates and reports will be submitted to the regional procurator fiscal.'

At the later rally, trade unionists from across Britain joined supporters from local factories and their families. Maria Fyfe, Labour MP for Maryhill and Scottish spokesperson on women's issues, praised the efforts of the women among the sacked Timex workers. 'The strength you have shown is an example to us all,' she said.

George Bolton, the Scottish miners' president, told the rally that the campaign for the sacked workers should be taken across Scotland and to Parliament.

And Willie Lesslie, the deputy shop stewards' convener dismissed by Timex, told the cheering crowd that the company had to choose between a negotiated settlement of the dispute or closure of the factory.

Police said last night that the rally had ended peacefully.