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28 September 2011

Construction electricians invade Kings Cross station

Hundreds of construction workers held an impromptu protest and rally on the main concourse at Kings Cross train station this morning.

Speakers like Mick Dooley, left candidate for the Ucatt general secretary election, competed with the station announcer as the campaign against de-skilling in the construction industry was brought home to thousands of commuters.

Mick Dooley read out a passage from the socialist classic book Ragged Trousered Philanthropists to the assembled crowd.

The workers had just held their sixth weekly London protest, this time outside the Kings Cross Project, at one point stopping the traffic outside one of the gates.

Workers have been buoyed up by the fact that one of the 'Big 8' construction companies, MJN Colston, has backed down from withdrawing from the JIB agreement which could see some electricians seeing their wages slashed by 35%.

NSSN chair Rob Williams addressed the protesters, pointing to the example of the workers at West Burton power station and Saltend who walked out on unofficial strike on Monday to protest outside Lindsey Oil Refinery.

While it is a massive boost to see Unite officials at today's protest promising to get an official ballot organised - which now needs to be progressed, Monday's action shows that workers have the power, whether it's official or unofficial, to stop the sites and defeat the employers.

Many speakers gave solidarity, from Alex Gordon and Steve Hedley from the RMT to left Labour MP John McDonnell.

Protests and action are spreading around the country and starting to shake the employers. There is a rank and file construction workers' meeting in Manchester this Saturday.

Rob called for Unite to organise a national conference open to all electricians in the construction industry to work out the industrial action strategy that will be necessary to win this battle.

The next London protest is next Wednesday from 6.30am at Park House in Oxford Street (left out of Bond Street tube)

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 28 September 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/12878