Victory at Runcorn Thermal Power Station

Hundreds of construction workers at Runcorn Thermal Power Station have won major concessions from the employers following several days of unofficial action over deeply inadequate on-site ‘welfare facilities’ such as toilets and the canteen.

The action has also created one new job! Numerous messages of solidarity were sent by trade unionists from across Britain.

Mass meetings each day voted on whether to continue the action, and eventually voted to accept the latest offer from the employers.

A worker on the site reports:

We’ve sent a clear message to the gaffers that they’d better start listening to us, stop taking the piss and start getting on with things. Basically, we’ve got everything we wanted.

When we walked out on Monday there was no admission of anything and the gaffers just said “Get back on site because the facilities you’ve got are good enough!” They’ve gone from that, to them undertaking that they will make the improvements we asked for, which are:

  • increasing the toilet facilities on the site
  • making sure facilities are properly maintained and cleaned (they’re employing an extra cleaner) to a standard accepted by the stewards and safety reps
  • daily inspections of the welfare facilities pre-shift to make sure they’re up to standard
  • weekly planning meetings of gaffers and stewards and safety reps to make sure that the welfare facilities are suitable and sufficient for the manning levels on the site
  • £250 paid to every worker on site towards covering the loss of earnings during the action

There was a further meeting yesterday of the stewards with the gaffers about the outstanding issues such as cold-weather gear, issues where previously we’ve raised this and some of the companies have baulked at the cost but have now decided they will act on them.

The £250 is subject to no further unprocedural action. But the most important thing is that we’ve shown the gaffers that we’re a united workforce, we mean business and if they want us on the site then they’d best give us the conditions and the recognition that we deserve.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 16 January 2013 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.