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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 November 2016

London Crossrail workers walk out

Socialist Party and NSSN supporters march with Crossrail workers photo Paula Mitchell

Socialist Party and NSSN supporters march with Crossrail workers photo Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

Rob Williams, NSSN national chair

Hundreds of electricians walked off construction sites on the massive Crossrail job in London on 25 November demanding that management adhere to the Joint Industry Board (JIB) agreement on the payment of a second tier productivity bonus.

They protested outside Crossrail's head office, in the belly of the beast of capitalism itself, Canary Wharf. They then went en masse to the Oxford Street office of one of the major contractors - Laing O'Rourke/Crown House - near the Tottenham Court site.

Members of the Socialist Party and the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) supported the workers and suggested taking the demonstration inside the office, which saw the reception crammed with protesting electricians chanting "Crossrail pay up!" Workers found out afterwards that the Farringdon had been locked down by management because they thought they were next for a visit!

I spoke at the Oxford Street protest, reminding workers about the 2012 victory over the Besna contract that would have seen wages cut by 35% and this year's 75 million compensation won from bosses by blacklisted workers. I also called for the immediate reinstatement of the suspended Unite shop steward at the Bow site.

The stoppage was a timely warning as Unite launches a campaign of demands they want from Crossrail and the electrical contractors. A consultative industrial action ballot will start this week.

Safety

As well as the second tier payment, workers are calling for project-wide agreements on a safety committee, redundancy terms, stewards committee and full and unfettered access of union officers to workforce, and a working party on working hours.

As the trade union movement marks the fifth anniversary of the massive two million strong 30 November public sector pensions strike it also awaits the implementation of the Tory Trade Union Act. This action, along with the unofficial walkout of prison officers two weeks ago, is a sign of the potential power of the organised working-class!

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 30 November 2016:


Castro dies

Fight for workers' democracy in Cuba


Socialist Party news and analysis

Time to fight low pay

Hands off our NHS!

Hunger strikes, suicides - end detention now

Women bear 85% of benefit cuts

Fight to make letting agent fee ban reality

Hospital admissions for malnutrition rise threefold

Them & Us: Autumn Statement special!

What We Saw


What we think

Brexit spin: demand a real workers' exit


Housing crisis

The housing crisis - a toxic issue for the Tories

Homelessness - capitalism is destroying people's lives

Fight the cuts - victims of domestic abuse depend on it


Workplace news and analysis

London Crossrail workers walk out

Durham teaching assistants determined to win

Strike action across London and South East rail network

Protest to demand pay rise for Sheffield

Young workers in Leeds socialise and mobilise at Unison young workers gig


The fight in Labour

Support the campaign to readmit expelled trade union militants

Conference to debate TUSC's role now and the 2017 elections

Labour Party branch votes for reselection

Southampton Labour councillors vote through more cuts


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Sheffield for sale!

Hands off HRI charts way forward

Reclaim the Night solidarity march

Repeal the 8th protest for abortion rights

Leicester playground protest


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Readmit expelled socialists: a proven record of fighting back

The Socialist Inbox


International socialist news and analysis

Spain: militant struggle by Students Union succeeds


 

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