Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/592/7689
Construction workers protest
On 7 September, about 150 construction workers from South Wales and as far away as Drax and the Isle of Grain, supported by members of RMT, PCS, and Unite as well as Youth Fight for Jobs, blockaded the construction site at Uskmouth power station. They were protesting at the failure of contractor Siemens to adhere to an agreement to employ local workers on the site.
Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales
Hundreds of construction workers are unemployed for the first time and it's not because there is a lack of work. Siemens has preferred to bring in labour from Eastern Europe rather than employing unionised local labour at nationally agreed rates.
They occupied the road leading into the plant for three hours, preventing anyone getting into the plant. The police were powerless to do anything to move the workers until the workers marched to the plant and allowed the traffic to move.
A number of cars and minibuses carrying workers to work turned back. Some workers who did go in phoned the union to offer to come back out.
But as Phil Willis from the Isle of Grain pointed out, the key issue is organising inside the site to force Siemens to adhere to the agreement. On the Isle of Grain they have succeeded in forcing the employer to work to union agreements by hard work from the stewards on the site. "It's the only way to do it" he said.
Attending the protest were apprentices Aaron Rowson and his mate Scott. Aaron is frustrated that he cannot finish his apprenticeship because he cannot find work: "I just want to be fully qualified". The support of Youth Fight for Jobs, who had a prominent contingent on the protest, was appreciated by many of the workers.
New protests and meetings are planned, with Lindsey Oil Refinery workers pledging to come to the next one.
In The Socialist 9 September 2009:
War and occupation
Trades Union Congress
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
Postal workers strike
Marxist analysis: history
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review