Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/565/6856
The diary of a striker
Colin Trousdale, an unemployed blacklisted electrician, involved in some of the recent protests, sent us a diary of the last few months:
- 30 July. Employed on Ferrybridge power station.
- 31 October. First round of redundancies. Remaining workforce given assurances that their jobs are safe until Christmas and beyond.
- 8 December. A chosen few of redundant workers brought back, 'out of scope' of the agreement, purportedly to do commissioning works.
- 12 December. Made redundant, 'out of scope' workforce doing our work, same situation at Fiddlers Ferry.
- 15 January. Meeting at Haydock with Derek Simpson, general secretary of Unite. He asked us to attend the mass protest at Staythorpe, which was picked to be centre of protest by union leaders.
- 19 January. Set out at 2.30 am to travel to Staythorpe. Arrived 6.15 am in torrential rain. Upwards of 200 protesters and I counted 45 police, plus dogs and horses. They corralled us in on a grass verge at the side of the road. Union officials arrive two hrs 15 minutes late at 8.15 am.
No loudhailer, no platform, no real means of addressing assembled protesters. Thoroughly drenched people tried to leave, only to be prevented by police with dogs. Protest broke up about 8.45 am.
- 28 January. Set out at 2.30 am to travel to Staythorpe. This time union leaders arrived at same time equipped to address the lads, upwards of 200 again from all over the country.
Crowd addressed by various union officials and one beautiful old Scottish firebrand who called for us to take urgent unofficial action.
As he did so a mobile phone rang in the crowd - the Lindsey oil refinery had walked!
Travelling home, the radio and our phones kept us informed as others joined the fight. It warmed our hearts.
- 31 January. North west Labour Party meeting in Preston. 50 protesters. Admonished by area union official for altering my placard to ask Unite the union to stop slavishly funding the Labour Party.
Collected a couple of hundred signatures for the petition to ask that the employers honour our national agreement, including a few MPs.
Although I couldn't get the MPs to sign my Campaign for a New Workers' Party petition. You would be surprised how many signatures I got from Labour Party members attending the meeting.
- 2 February. Heysham, Fiddlers Ferry and Sellafield join us.
In The Socialist 4 February 2009:
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Marxist analysis: history