Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/360/5925
Picketing Wembley Stadium
TWO HUNDRED and fifty construction workers, members of the GMB and Amicus unions, who are working on the new Wembley stadium were sacked at two hours' notice on 10 August and locked out.
They have since mounted pickets of hundreds at the site, had publicity in the national press and also had a protest of 60 workers at the Football Association (FA) headquarters. They will be balloting to make this an official dispute.
The workers were initially working for a company called Cleveland Bridge, which was dropped from the Wembley project after the main arch was completed, just over a month ago. At that stage, the workers say the project was ahead of schedule and on budget. Now the companies and FA claim it is behind schedule and over budget.
The workers were all taken on by a company called Fasttrack who are refusing to honour the transfer regulations (TUPE) and have changed the workers' hours.
A senior GMB steward at the picket line told the socialist:
"Multiplex, the main contractor from Australia, is making us a scapegoat because they've made a mess of the job. Cleveland Bridge had it six weeks in front and on budget but it's fallen behind now. They want the media to point the finger and blame us.
"I'd ask all trade unionists to give as us much as help as they can; especially financially because 80% of the sacked workers are from outside London and the lads on the picket line have digs to pay and travel to cover. We're adamant that we are going to fight to get our jobs back. They are our jobs and it's the men that have been made redundant not the jobs."
Another shop steward from GMB spoke to the socialist outside the Football Association:
"The FA have stated that they don't want to be involved with this dispute with Multiplex. But they are going to have to get involved.
"We think that the lack of interest is from the pressure from the government over the 2012 Olympic bid.
"A lot of the information being fed to the press and the FA is untrue. We just want to get back what we had and we are asking any trade unionists to support us."
The workers have had some initial success in getting other workers not to cross picket lines and it appears that very little construction is going on at the site.
Trade unionists in London have already started taking up the cause and the London RMT regional council has donated £250. The workers themselves also organised leafleting at the Middlesbrough -Fulham football match.
- Donations and messages of support should be sent to Graham Caster, 18 Waxwell Lane, Pinner, Middlesex HA5. Tel: 07968 022695.4
In The Socialist 4 September 2004:
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