Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/870/21414
Support Teesside construction workers: Pay the rate!
It's 5:15am and traffic is already starting to back up due to an ongoing protest by construction workers at the massive Wilton chemical plant on Teesside. This is one of a series of planned protests (see the Socialist issue 3-9 September).
There are protesters on each of the gates, leafleting workers as they arrive on site. The protest is peaceful and good-natured but the Unite, GMB and Ucatt members involved are serious and determined.
The protests are designed to pressure engineering giants Sita/Sembcorp to stop using agencies to undercut agreed industry pay rates. Contactors building the new 'Energy from Waste' plant at Wilton have been accused of exploiting cheap migrant labour and undercutting skilled workers living in Teesside.
Until recently it has been difficult to prove these contractors are paying less than the rate for the job.
However representatives from the three unions visited the site on 17 August with interpreters, and got first hand evidence that most of the migrant workers were being paid less than half the going rate. At the same time local skilled workers on the protest explained they were being laid off!
The Teesside construction workers have been joined on the protests by others from Manchester, Liverpool and Hull in a fantastic show of solidarity.
In return, workers from Teesside took part in a similar protest in Liverpool on 4 September. In this case protesters targeted Carillion, who are building the new Royal Liverpool Hospital, again undercutting agreed rates by exploiting migrant labour. Liverpool construction workers also accuse Carillion of consulting a secret database of blacklisted workers.
No race to the bottom!
The protests are not against the migrant workers, we're fighting for everybody to get the agreed rates of pay. We need to stop this happening across the country, or they'll use cheap labour everywhere and price local skilled workers out of a job.
The protests will continue until a wage audit takes place and Sita agrees to ensure agreements are honoured.
Teesside Socialist Party
In The Socialist 16 September 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party comments and reviews