Protest for blacklisted worker Lee Fowler. Photo: Joanne Fowler
Protest for blacklisted worker Lee Fowler. Photo: Joanne Fowler

Oisin Duncan, Liverpool Socialist Party

On 20 April, Socialist Party members attended a protest organised by blacklisted construction worker Lee Fowler at the site of his former employer, Cargill PLC.

Lee is a long-time trade unionist and has been campaigning against blacklisting in the construction industry for more than a decade. He himself has been blacklisted previously. This time it is a blatant attempt to silence safety concerns raised by union reps.

A number of issues were at play: unequal pay for reps and the rest of the workforce, and accidents being treated lightly by management. But fundamentally, this is an attempt to victimise a committed union activist for the crime of standing up for safe conditions for construction workers.

The message from the protest is clear. Lee isn’t backing down and he has the support of Unite, his union, and the wider labour movement. With a wide range of activists attending to give support, including Socialist Party members, we will continue to back Lee’s campaign for justice. The supporters included two who drove all the way from Scotland, along with National Shop Stewards Network national chair Rob Williams, some of the 47 socialist Liverpool City ex-councillors, and Dave Walsh from Liverpool Trades Council.

The firm was clearly rattled, as several police officers were called out and had clearly been briefed on the situation beforehand. A gate usually left open for deliveries was shut the day of the protest. Given the strong evidence Lee has on his side, the company is likely to come off second best.

The Socialist Party will keep supporting Lee and all other blacklisted workers against vicious employers, and the capitalist system which allows their exploitation.