Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/7316

Posted on 27 May 2009 at 0:00 GMT

Milford Haven strike win big victory

Workers strike at South Hook construction site near Milford Haven, Wales , photo Dave Reid

Workers strike at South Hook construction site near Milford Haven, Wales , photo Dave Reid

Construction workers at the South Hook LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) terminal construction site near Milford Haven in South Wales have won a big victory over employers by taking unofficial action in defiance of anti-union laws.

Dave Reid

Solidarity action by construction workers across Wales and England has forced Hertel UK to back down from its attempt to refuse to employ any more unionised UK-based laggers on the site. The plant's contract with Hertel UK is "under review". Clearly the prompt action, illegal under the current ant-union legislation, across the country was hurting Hertel and the industry as a whole. Hertel was forced to make a humiliating climbdown.

Over 200 workers walked off the site on 19 May when Hertel refused to employ any more unionised UK-based laggers, members of the GMB, but instead brought in workers from Poland.

Construction workers at the nearby Dragon LNG site walked off the job in solidarity and joined the picket line at South Hook along with another 16 sites across Wales and England. 500 construction workers gathered at Aberthaw power station in solidarity with South Hook and over 1,000 at Lindsey Oil Refinery and Conoco in Lincolnshire. Workers at the Murco refinery in Milford Haven were due to join them.

Workers were very angry at the reneging on the SPA (Supplementary Project Agreement) which had guaranteed that jobs on the site would be offered to unionised local workers first before looking outside the UK for workers. Hertel publicly claimed that they could not find skilled laggers locally, but this was a bare-faced lie. Hertel management had already told shop stewards in a meeting last week that none of 40 new lagging jobs would be offered to UK workers, in a clear breach of the SPA that had existed on the site.

Workers strike at South Hook construction site near Milford Haven in Wales , photo Dave Reid

Workers strike at South Hook construction site near Milford Haven in Wales , photo Dave Reid

When the management broke the agreement by bussing in workers from Poland the 40 existing laggers walked off the job together with the rest of the construction workforce.

Hertel claimed it was not paying the Polish workers below the union rate, but pickets believe that they were not receiving the same pay and conditions as union workers. In any case, by breaking the SPA Hertel could have used the lack of an agreement to drive a coach and horses through agreed pay and conditions in the future.

Hertel faxed the media that the Polish workers had been removed from the site, but this was never a demand of the union. The workers merely wanted the SPA to be adhered to, allowing unionised UK skilled workers to apply for the job and had no problem working alongside other workers from Europe. Workers at South Hook were not opposed to laggers from Poland getting work on the site as long as local laggers were given the opportunity of the work first under the union agreement and then foreign workers employed with the same pay and conditions.

Journalists from all the main media outlets searched in vain at Milford Haven for the banners demanding 'British jobs for British workers'. This was never action against foreign workers, but to defend jobs and to protect union agreements.

The BBC emphasised that a UKIP candidate was leafleting workers at Aberthaw power station in the Vale of Glamorgan but failed to mention he had been publicly instructed to f*** off by the union convenor. In contrast there was a warm response to the leaflets for No2EU Yes to Democracy and workers at both sites queued to take copies of the Socialist Party newsletter from Lindsey.

This has been a big victory for construction workers across Britain and for trade unionism in general and shows that rapid solidarity action, ignoring the delays imposed by anti-union legislation, can force employers into humiliating climb downs.

But clearly employers in the construction industry will not accept this setback lying down. They will attempt to undermine and break the NAECI agreement (the national agreement on terms conditions) and local supplementary agreements wherever they can. This battle has been won but the war is not over. Solidarity action will be needed again.

See also Workers strike at South Hook construction site in Wales

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






Related links:

Construction workers:

triangleFerrybridge workers protest against 'race to bottom'

triangleLetter from blacklisted construction workers

triangleBlacklisting victory donation dedicated to workers' struggle

triangleConstruction workers stop work to protest at the undermining of jobs and pay

Strike:

triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

triangleSchool staff strike against privatisation

triangleTeachers strike in Sheffield

triangleDramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

Construction:

triangleUnite protest against blacklisting

triangleNo more excuses: fit sprinklers now!

triangleRemove cladding without delay says head of Housing Fed

Solidarity:

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Solidarity meeting - hear from Manchester strikers

triangleNSSN meeting brings together workers in struggle

Jobs:

trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

Wales:

triangleRough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

Lindsey:

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: Lessons of the 2009 Lindsey Refinery strike

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

6/12/17

Transport

Arriva bus strikers stand firm

6/12/17

Pensions

BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

6/12/17

PCS

Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

6/12/17

Newham

School staff strike against privatisation

6/12/17

Rail

Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services

6/12/17

PCS

PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

6/12/17

North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters

6/12/17

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest

6/12/17

Coventry

Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

6/12/17

TUSC

TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

6/12/17

Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

6/12/17

Kirklees

Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

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