Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/565/6855
Staythorpe power station: "It's all about money"
Construction workers at Staythorpe power station, near Newark, Nottinghamshire walked out on strike on 2 February. But there have been regular protests outside since September. At the time of writing, some of those who walked out on strike have been threatened with the sack. I spoke to workers on the picket line.
Unite branch secretary, David Smeeton, said: "They plan to bring in 800 foreign workers and the contractors are refusing to even consider local workers for the job, yet there are hundreds of local people who could work. We built the last two power stations here.
"I have been out of work and campaigning here for six months. There are skilled welders which the Jobcentre wants to retrain as fork lift drivers, yet there are none of those jobs available.
"You can't blame the foreign workers, we might do the same, it's the employers.
"The reason for this is that they want to cut cost. It is all across the industry. Yes they may say on paper that they are paying the same wages.
"But we know they will get it back off them one way or the other: deductions for accommodation, deductions for buses, etc. We have no way of checking what they will really be on.
"Even though there is a recession in this industry there are plans to create thousands of jobs over the next 20 years, for nuclear plant decommissioning, new power stations and so on.
"Employers want to cut labour costs on those.
"There have even been proposals they want to get through the European Union that contractors can bring their own national conditions and health and safety rules.
"It's all about money."
In The Socialist 4 February 2009:
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Marxist analysis: history