BP Hull Saltend construction workers win victory through strike action
A one day strike took place on Wednesday 2 March at BP Hull where a multi-million pound biofuels plant is being constructed.
A GMB member
After lengthy discussions with the management of Redhalls, the main construction contractor, shop stewards from the GMB and UNITE trade unions hit a brick wall over the way that Redhalls wanted to carry out redundancies.
On the Tuesday night the workforce held a mass meeting to discuss the proposals from the management. Instead of carrying out the NAECI (national industry agreement) which states that length of service will be on the specific contract, Redhalls wanted to use length of service with the company.
The lads rejected the management position and voted to take industrial action to defend the national agreement. Around 400 Redhall construction workers blocked the main gate of BP and stopped all traffic entering the BP site.
The electricians and scaffolders took supportive action and did not cross the picket line. It didn't take long for the traffic to build up down Hedon Rd back towards Hull city centre.
The rush hour traffic came to a complete standstill. At around 9.30am the stewards were called onto the site by Redhalls management.
After a meeting with the lads we decided to keep six pickets on the gate and to return at 6am the following morning and to carry on the dispute until the management backed down.
On the Thursday morning the police were there in force with dogs, horses and several police vans but they were not needed. A mass meeting voted to go back after the shop stewards along with the fulltime officials negotiated what the lads wanted and also got a rigger reinstated who was wrongly made redundant the week before.
The lads understood quite clearly that this was an attack on the national agreement and were prepared to take unofficial and illegal strike action to defend their hard won gains.