Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/12777

Posted on 15 September 2011 at 8:04 GMT

Protesting construction workers call for national strike ballot

Another protest against the attacks on national agreements in the electrical and mechanical construction sector took place on Wednesday 14 September at the Olympic site in East London.

About 100 workers and their supporters gathered to protest against the attempts to deskill the industry by eight major construction companies, including major names such as Balfour Beatty.

Five of these companies have upped the stakes by issuing what the union Unite describes as "legal notice of their intention to dismiss, with notice, thousands of employees before re-engaging them on new inferior contracts". A deadline has been set for 7 December for all employees to sign these new contracts.

The mood of the workers was angry. They get paid good wages (about 16 an hour) for high-grade skills yet face the prospect of being reclassed as 'semi-skilled' and therefore being lower paid; some cuts in pay could be as much as 35%! The bosses want to scrap the existing 50-50 agreements which decide the skill levels of workers and unilaterally decide grades themselves.

And the work is dangerous, with the protest being told by one worker that there had been three serious accidents on the Olympic site last week alone.

This protest, organised by the rank and file construction workers' campaign, was attended by two Unite officials and addressed by Vince Passfield, regional secretary for the union's construction sector.

He recognised the anger of the members that has been shown by big turnouts at weekly protests and said that Unite had officially called the next one for the Farringdon Crossrail site on Wednesday 21 September.

Nevertheless, many workers in the industry believe Unite and other unions have been too slow in organising resistance to the bosses' attacks, which is why the unofficial campaign was established.

Most of the workers are calling for unions, particularly Unite, to organise a national ballot for strike action to hit the bosses in their pockets and stop these attacks on terms and conditions.

A number of speakers backed up this call. Kevin Parslow, assistant secretary of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) and bringing greetings from that body, welcomed the protests and recognised a growing anger in the private sector against the attacks of the bosses and the Con-Dem government.

He called for any strikes organised in construction (2 million workers are in the industry although only 10% are in unions) to be coordinated with the public-sector unions discussing action on pensions. That could bring the bosses to the table and even to their knees, he said.

The protest marched down to the main road and blocked traffic for a short while before being asked to move on by the police.

The workers felt they had made their point about their potential power! The protest was ended by blacklisted construction worker Dave Smith reminding those gathered that the enemy "isn't Polish workers or Portuguese workers, but the bosses who want to take more profits from your pay".

Other protests also took place today at the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland and Balfours Carrington paper mill site in Manchester.

A young construction worker posted on Facebook recently: "I'm 20 years old. I'm in my fourth year of my apprenticeship; you're telling me I have worked my ass off for the last four years doing all my college work and getting all the correct grades to be an electrician and then put on the same money as some one who, no offence, works in McDonalds? This can't be right.

"This is the first I have heard of this de-skilling. What can I do about this? Cheers."

Next protests on Wednesday 21 September:

Future rank and file meetings:


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 15 September 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Construction:

triangleHinkley workers win back unpaid wages after sit-in protest

triangleZero new homes 'affordable' in Blairite Manchester

triangleWoolwich Crossrail walkouts to demand promised bonuses

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleCarillion and the construction industry

Protest:

triangleCollege protest against job losses

triangleHull City supporters fight to reclaim their club and the game

triangleTaking the anti-austerity message to the chancellor's back yard

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Gaza - protest is not terrorism!

Unite:

triangleBromley libraries - indefinite strike action continues

triangleBromley library workers walk out over 'insulting' pay offer

triangleAberdeen bus drivers strike against pay cuts

London:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Our local TUSC council challenge

triangleLondon Socialist Party: France's 1968 'month of revolution'

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

23/4/18

Hull

College protest against job losses

22/4/18

Bromley

Bromley library workers win strike campaign

18/4/18

UCU

UCU members vote to end pensions dispute

18/4/18

Usdaw

Usdaw conference 2018: time for new era of fighting trade unionism

18/4/18

Leeds

Victorious Fearnville Fields campaigners thank the Socialist

18/4/18

Hull

Hull says no to war, no to austerity

18/4/18

The Socialist

The Socialist - a fighting, campaigning, workers' paper

18/4/18

Socialist Party

Building fund: 150,000 milestone smashed!

18/4/18

Fighting Fund

Give us your change (and more) to fight for system change!

18/4/18

Scotland

Workers' victory over anti-union Scottish council

18/4/18

Newham

Avenue School strikers and parents win judicial review

18/4/18

PCS

Vote for a left, fighting PCS leadership

18/4/18

PCS

PCS rejects Acas offer - further strikes announced

18/4/18

Bromley

Bromley libraries - indefinite strike action continues

18/4/18

Butterfields

Butterfields tenants join TUSC campaign

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999