Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/598/8265
Giant energy company hounds unemployed electrician
Blacklisted electrician and Unite member Steve Acheson has been protesting outside Fiddlers Ferry power station, Warrington, since his unfair dismissal by contractors in December 2008. He has now been served with notice of an injunction against his protest.
A Merseyside Socialist Party member
But in a truly Kafka-esque twist, the papers did not give a time, date or place for the court hearing. This is because Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) want to secure an injunction 'without notice', that is without Steve knowing of it before it is created. In law this will only be granted if there is an imminent threat of harm or loss. To this end the injunction makes various fantastical claims that Steve and his supporters pose a danger to the national grid!
Finally on Friday he was handed the full papers, giving him exactly five days, including the weekend, to prepare to appear in the High Court, Chancery Division, in London.
Steve and his supporters stand outside the power station every Monday and Friday from 7.30am as a peaceful protest against his unfair dismissal and subsequent denial of a grievance process. None of them has ever attempted to enter the power station, or disrupt generation, or block the entrance to the site.
If anything it was Steve's employers who broke local agreements, and the law of the land, in sacking him contrary to the agreed rules on the site. His employer, such is the abysmal contractor culture on these projects, was a sub-contractor to a sub-contractor to a contractor to SSE! At any time, by lifting their little finger, SSE could have got Steve re-instated, or at least got him access to a grievance procedure.
Instead of which we have the grotesque spectacle of a company that made over £1 billion profit last year bullying one unemployed electrician.
This case could have important implications for all trade unionists and shows how far the bosses will go in using their courts against workers in struggle.
In The Socialist 21 October 2009:
War and occupation
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reviews
Marxist analysis: history