Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/658/11189

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 February 2011

Reviews

Construction Safety Campaign

by Tony O'Brien

The recent deaths of four construction workers in an industrial accident in Great Yarmouth brought the British construction industry's appalling safety record to the headlines once again.

This book catalogues the 20-year history of the Construction Safety Campaign (CSC). Behind the slogan of "Safety Before Profits", the CSC has campaigned to raise safety standards on construction sites, and fought for justice for victims and their families.

Most of us who work in construction have witnessed an accident or a near-miss, yet there can be a culture of 'that's the way it is' amongst some construction workers. This has been brought about by years of non-enforcement of health and safety by construction companies and government agencies, exacerbated by low levels of union membership and organisation in the industry.

This makes Tony O'Brien's book essential reading for every construction worker and activist. The stories of the deaths, many of them young men in accidents that could have been avoided, are heartbreaking. Yet the determination of their families and co-workers for justice and to improve site conditions, often with the assistance of the CSC is inspirational.

Significantly, the campaign also looks further afield to arm activists with the political ideas necessary to achieve victories. Employers have been ruthless in attempting to stamp out union organisation. The exposure of the bosses' blacklist of union and safety activists, as well as the CSC's support for the Justice for the Shrewsbury 24 campaign, provide us with important lessons for the future.

O'Brien goes into much depth, often almost encyclopaedic detail, of individual instances and events. However, it is rarely too dry, with the story told in an honest, open style. It is also well supplemented with photographs, copies of leaflets, newspaper articles and correspondence, cartoons and fact sheets, as well as a short appendix of poetry written in tribute to those who lost their lives.

The author doesn't hold back from exposing those who acted as obstacles either, with the leadership of the Labour Party and the trade unions coming under attack on occasion. However, he correctly identifies that the campaign's success is based in its grassroots campaigning amongst rank and file trade unionists.

The Con-Dem coalition recently floated plans to give firms health and safety "inspection holidays" and to let smaller companies become practically exempt from safety regulations under "earned autonomy", with the endorsement of the bosses and their representatives in the press. They will claim it as a victory in 'cutting red tape' and fighting against 'health and safety gone mad'.

However, the list of 28 construction worker fatalities in the last six months of 2009 towards the end of the book brings reality home. The ever-expanding appetite for profits by construction companies means that workers become increasingly seen as disposable.

Despite some significant victories in the last 20 years, it is clear that in the immediate future we will need campaigns such as the CSC more than ever to help defend our rights and conditions on site.

A Shropshire construction worker

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 16 February 2011:


Anti-cuts campaign

Join the fightback against cuts!

Labour councillors' arguments refuted at People's Convention

The Tories and the City

Hundreds pack into Liverpool meeting against cuts

Private tenants are the poor relations in housing

News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Egypt: What next after the overthrow of mubarak?

Egypt - the revolution must go on

Hopes and fears in the upcoming Irish election: Socialist Party support increasing amongst working class


Workplace news and analysis

Defending jobs in South Wales

Portsmouth anti-cuts campaign presents an alternative

Rawmarsh teachers' action wins reprieve

No to Cutts!

UCU members prepare for battle on pensions and pay

Defend the Four!

Workplace news in brief


Campaigns

Greenwich marches against brutal council cuts

Worcester: end the cuts and the coalition!

Reject 'TINA'- fight for socialism

Action across the country - fighting all council cuts


Marxist analysis: history

Britain 1911-1914: The great unrest - lessons for today


Socialist Students

Tuition fees increase spells misery for students: Build a united fightback!


Socialist Party reviews

Construction Safety Campaign

Mark Thomas: Extreme rambling


 

Home   |   The Socialist 16 February 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Construction:

triangleUnite protest against blacklisting

triangleNo more excuses: fit sprinklers now!

triangleRemove cladding without delay says head of Housing Fed

triangleOne in three borrow for rent, Corbyn pledges housing revolution

Health and safety:

triangleFood processing workers vote for action against miserly bosses

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleBin workers - fifth week of strike action

triangleBin workers' anger boils over into strike action

Health:

triangleGlenfield victory shows people power can save our NHS

triangleVictory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangleTyneside to protest against A&E and walk-in cuts

Construction workers:

triangleFerrybridge workers protest against 'race to bottom'

triangleLetter from blacklisted construction workers

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

6/12/17

Fire

The Socialist Inbox

6/12/17

Surrey

Comment: Socialism and truth about Zane

6/12/17

Labour Party

Blairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

30/11/17

Theatre

Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

22/11/17

Working class

Left comic's take on politics will have you in tears

22/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

15/11/17

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

15/11/17

Abortion

TV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

15/11/17

Vietnam war

Comprehensive account of bloody conflict

8/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

8/11/17

Obituary

Obituary: Paul Randall, 1959-2017

8/11/17

Theatre

Welsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict

1/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

25/10/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

25/10/17

Fidel Castro

New musical on life of Castro

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2