Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/13136

Posted on 10 November 2011 at 15:28 GMT

Police kettle electricians

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) condemns the actions of the police on 9 November in kettling over 200 construction electricians for well over an hour.

Workers, including many in their 50s and 60s, were left standing within a ring of riot police with no access to food, drink or toilet facilities.

At the end of this harrowing experience, coming after they had spent most of the day marching, they were subject to a search and, we believe, unlawfully forced to give their names and addresses.

No doubt many of these workers will be getting a letter from the Met's new commissioner, warning them off future peaceful protests!

Their crime? After marching in protest at the plans of the big construction companies to smash their Joint Industry Board (JIB) contracts which will cut their wages by up to 35%, they wanted to show solidarity with the many students who have supported their 3-month long campaign by joining their demonstration.

Out of the 2,000 workers who took part in the Unite-organised march to the Balfour Beatty site at Blackfriars, about 300 started to make their way up to Fleet Street to wait for the student protest so that they could march with them.

Disgracefully, police converged on these workers and barred the way and were later joined by members of the Met's Territorial Support Group, successor to the notorious Special Patrol Group! Startled by their actions, some managed to push through the lines while the others were stopped and quickly contained.

It became clear that the intention was to keep us kettled until the student demonstration had marched past.

In a magnificent show of solidarity, we believe led by the Jarrow marchers and other student campaigners, the students stopped their march in an attempt to relieve the electricians' siege.

However, such was the overwhelming presence of police on the student protest, it was eventually forced to continue.

Finally, the electricians were let out of the kettle but not without being forced to give their personal details.

Why? Because the police's commanding officer deemed that a 'breach of the peace' was likely! Reasons given for believing this after an entirely peaceful march included worries of a repetition of the incidents of last year's student demonstrations, that the march, having 'deviated' from its agreed route, was now 'illegal' and even, most scandalously, that the electricians were going to attack the students' demo!

The police may have achieved their aim of stopping significant numbers of these workers from joining the students but if anything their repressive and undemocratic actions have brought home to both groups how the police are being used to attack the rights of protest and assembly.

The police action yesterday is the first instance to our knowledge of workers being on the receiving end of the same treatment meted out to students and young people over the last few years, and particularly over the last 12 months.

This is being done in the interests of this government that is making working-class and many middle-class people, young and old, pay for the bankers' crisis and ruthless companies, like Balfour Beatty that has an order book of 15 billion and has made 91 million profits in the last 6 months, yet has given 1600 of its workers notice that they will lose over 200 a month in wages.

The NSSN has supported the electricians' protests over the last 3 months, which has grown in support despite the media blackout and we support Unite's strike ballot against Balfours.

Like the students, these workers had a tremendous reception from bystanders in central London, even though the first leg of their march, organised by rank and file electricians, started at the Pinnacle in Bishopsgate at 7am! Buses came from all round the country, with the Newcastle coach leaving at midnight.

All unions and anyone who still believes in the freedom of protest and assembly must condemn yesterday's events.

On 30 November, 3 million workers will be striking against the Con-Dems' attacks on public sector pensions.

Many of them will be joining rallies and demonstrations. It is clear from yesterday, that the best protection for our civil liberties is to ensure that these demonstrations are numerous, as big as possible and very well stewarded.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 10 November 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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






Related links:

Construction:

triangleSupport the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangleUnite day of action against blacklisting

triangleUnite protest against blacklisting

triangleNo more excuses: fit sprinklers now!

Electricians:

triangleCrossrail action in defence of victimised union rep

triangleLondon Crossrail workers walk out

triangleCrossrail sparks get organised

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Police:

triangleIrish capitalist state: rotten to the core

triangleOrgreave campaigners' Halloween 'Death of Justice' march

triangleThe "club no-one wants to be part of" - march by families of those killed in police custody

Students:

triangleBrighton victory

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

Protest:

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

NSSN:

triangleNSSN meeting brings together workers in struggle

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleMixed-fleet workers show strikes get results

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/12/17

Haringey

Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

16/12/17

North West

Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

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