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Sacked electricians fight on
SINCE LAST April, three sacked electricians have protested against the employers on the major Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) construction site. They are campaigning for their trade union rights.
Tribunal hearings against their former employer Logic have recently taken place. Logic claim that they have not victimised anyone and that the work for these three electricians had run out at the same time as they set up a TGWU shop on site.
Logic must be worried, they employed Ronald Thwaites QC, a top-notch lawyer who, amongst others, represented Balfour Beatty in the Hatfield rail disaster case.
Management witnesses had to admit that especially Balfour Kilpatrick, one of the major contractors on site, wanted to get Steve Acheson, one of the electricians, off site: "Because he was a trade unionist and considered an undesirable," they unanimously declared.
One key witness for the tribunal could prove to be Alan Wainwright. He used to be a senior manager for various construction companies and claims that a blacklist exists for electricians who are also trade union activists. He alleges that around 1,000 electricians are on such a blacklist. He claimed at the tribunal that Steve Acheson's name was on it.
None of the three electricians have been able to find a new job since they were sacked. "We know that there are five electricians on site who have been employed since we left," one of them said at the tribunal.
The result of the tribunal will come out in about six weeks time. But the struggle for workers' rights on construction sites won't stop. The workers will carry on with their daily protest at the MRI and visitors are always welcome.
During the tribunal, one of them received a phone call. "We have just formed a union at our site in Trafford Park" the caller said. "We are now on strike to improve our working conditions."
In The Socialist 1 February 2007:
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