Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/666/11756
The Socialist 13 April 2011 |
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National strike needed to defend rights
The Socialist has previously reported on the over 400 engineering construction workers who have been locked out from a site at BP Saltend, near Hull. The weeks-long lock-out results from a dispute over company attacks on the construction workers' national agreement (NAECI). On 10 April, at arbitration service ACAS talks, main contractor Vivergo refused to talk to union officials representing the locked out Redhall workers, unless they called off the daily protests at the plant.
The next day, Monday 11 April, Vivergo got their answer when Redhall workers blockaded the gates, then invaded and closed the site, and later blocked the roundabout causing traffic to tail-back miles to the city centre.
Whilst the call for solidarity strike action at other construction sites on 6 April did not come off, delegations joined the protest at the gates from West Burton, Conoco, LOR and Drax, and the Teesside lads picketed ICI Wilton causing three to four mile tailbacks.
And in a show of solidarity, the Interserve and Doosan repair and maintenance workers at BP Saltend refused to cross dispute lines and stayed out all week. Also the electricians and scaffolders who had been put on "gardening leave" for four weeks refused to cross on Thursday and Friday when called back to work. Employers are now threatening sackings of those standing in solidarity with Redhall workers.
BP, who have a 40% stake in Vivergo, have their company AGM in London on 14 April. Coachloads of locked out workers are going to protest. As one Redhall worker put it: "The 'little men' are going down to London to show them who's boss".
The trade unions must make it clear that if any other worker is sacked as a result of this action, then the whole industry will be brought to a halt. We cannot allow victimisation of workers taking basic trade union solidarity action.
Pressure from below has finally forced an emergency (after six weeks!) National Engineering Construction Committee (NECC) stewards' meeting to be called for Monday 18 April in Leeds specifically to discuss the Vivergo/Redhall lock-out.
This meeting must take the bull by the horns. The lock-out is a blatant attack on the NAECI agreement and TUPE [transfer of employment] rights. If Redhall workers are not re-employed, then this will give the green light to all employers to attack and sack other construction workers.
The NECC must name the day for a national stoppage of all NAECI sites. Stewards at all sites should invite Redhall workers to mass meetings to explain what's really happened and dispel the myths and rumours that have been circulating. This will prepare the way for a successful national strike which should be extended if the employers don't back off and re-employ the Redhall workers.
- Please send donations to the lock-out hardship fund to: Treasurer Mr Steve Cressey, 1 Manby Road, Scunthorpe, DN17 2LA. Please make cheques payable to the: Saltend Hardship Fund.
- Messages of support and requests for speakers to: Keith Gibson: 07743135183 or firstname.lastname@example.org