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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 February 2007

Sacked electricians fight on

SINCE LAST April, three sacked electricians have protested against the employers on the major Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) construction site. They are campaigning for their trade union rights.

Christian Bunke

Tribunal hearings against their former employer Logic have recently taken place. Logic claim that they have not victimised anyone and that the work for these three electricians had run out at the same time as they set up a TGWU shop on site.

Logic must be worried, they employed Ronald Thwaites QC, a top-notch lawyer who, amongst others, represented Balfour Beatty in the Hatfield rail disaster case.

Management witnesses had to admit that especially Balfour Kilpatrick, one of the major contractors on site, wanted to get Steve Acheson, one of the electricians, off site: "Because he was a trade unionist and considered an undesirable," they unanimously declared.

One key witness for the tribunal could prove to be Alan Wainwright. He used to be a senior manager for various construction companies and claims that a blacklist exists for electricians who are also trade union activists. He alleges that around 1,000 electricians are on such a blacklist. He claimed at the tribunal that Steve Acheson's name was on it.

None of the three electricians have been able to find a new job since they were sacked. "We know that there are five electricians on site who have been employed since we left," one of them said at the tribunal.

The result of the tribunal will come out in about six weeks time. But the struggle for workers' rights on construction sites won't stop. The workers will carry on with their daily protest at the MRI and visitors are always welcome.

During the tribunal, one of them received a phone call. "We have just formed a union at our site in Trafford Park" the caller said. "We are now on strike to improve our working conditions."

  • Building workers' organising meeting, the Castle Pub, Oldham Street Manchester, just off Piccadilly Gardens, 12pm, 17 February. For a 35-hour week, direct employment, 20 per hour all trades, elected stewards and safety reps, no stooge convenors. Contact 07749 517074 for more details
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    In The Socialist 1 February 2007:

    Private hands off our health service

    NHS: Protests must reflect people's anger

    NHS union attacked in Brighton

    Workplace news

    Striking for jobs and services

    BA bosses make concessions

    Socialist Students

    Mass action can defeat fees

    Building for the protests

    Socialist Party news and analysis

    Gay adoption: Christian hierarchy attacks equal rights

    Reid's prison disaster

    Review: Silent Accomplice

    Northern Ireland

    Sinn Fein's major U-turn

    War and terrorism

    Iraq - build for 24 February demo

    Lewisham leads the way

    International socialist news and analysis

    CWI rally: An inspiring international meeting

    CWI World Congress: Building the forces of socialism worldwide

    Sri Lanka: Defend socialists under attack

    Bolivia: Mass protests demand right-wing Prefect's resignation

    Workplace news

    Power industry: Fight this victimisation

    Sacked electricians fight on

    BP condemned over safety standards

    Support the Unique Care workers

    Southampton care workers on strike

    National meeting on Single Status


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