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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 September 2019

Hull construction workers strike against blacklisting

Workers building a wood chip acetylation (processing) plant in Hull walked off the job in defence of trade union agreements and against blacklisting on 24 September.
The 'Tricoya Trinity Project' at Saltend Chemicals Park is subject to the 'National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry' (NAECI) trade union terms, also known as the 'Blue Book'. The NAECI and local union agreements say bosses must employ two senior shop stewards on the job, one each from general unions Unite and GMB.
But construction firm Fabricon is refusing to abide by the agreements. The Socialist spoke to plater and Socialist Party member Keith Gibson, who bosses have refused to employ as senior steward for the GMB.
photo Hull Socialist Party

photo Hull Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

"We've gone through the NAECI grievance procedures for several months to try to get Fabricon to take on two senior stewards. I'm a plater, and I've been put forward as the senior steward by the GMB, and Paul Tattersfield, an electrician, was put forward by Unite.

The company has used several excuses. One was that the job was not going to be as big as they expected. Initially, the job was to have 121 workers; now it's just 60. But nowhere in the Blue Book does it give a numerical figure - the agreement is simply to employ two senior stewards.

They've even gone down the road of making a 'compromise' proposal to the unions, of taking two workers on in their respective trades and then letting them decide between themselves who is the senior steward.

But this breaches both the Naeci and the local agreement. And taking on a plater and electrician that way would breach equal opportunities too.

Another excuse was that they weren't employing any platers so couldn't take me on. The straw that broke the camel's back was that I heard on the grapevine they're taking on five platers and starting a night shift this week! So the reason they've not taken me on is clearly that I've been blacklisted.

Riding roughshod

The company's line was that there would be a meeting about this on 7 October with officials from both unions. But what they should have done if they're increasing the workforce is speak to the unions first about hours and manning levels.

They've ridden roughshod over that part of the agreement too. They want to hold the meeting late so they can say to us they're fully manned up and can't take on another plater! It's blatant blacklisting.

It's now all come to a head. I went down to see the 60 lads working on the site this morning (24 September). I explained to them we've tried everything through the official procedures to bring the company to book.

I appealed to them to take some form of action - not in defence of me, but in defence of the union agreement. If we're in breach, they're on at the union straight away! If we don't stand up against the bosses' breaches now, it will go onto the next job.

They took a vote. It was overwhelming in favour of strike action. The lads say this has been coming for a long time. So they've walked off the job. Six Hull Socialist Party members and trade unionists came down to support the picket line."

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In The Socialist 25 September 2019:


News

Another blow for Boris. Johnson and Tories must go. General election now!

Labour votes to abolish academies and private schools

Nationalise Thomas Cook to save jobs and protect passengers

Far right pose increasing terrorism threat


What we think

Capitalist political crisis: Central task is to force general election and elect Corbyn-led Labour government on socialist policies


Climate change

Climate Crisis: Socialist Green New Deal needed

4m on climate strikes as workers join students


Workplace news

PCS NEC bypasses members on backing Labour candidates

Hull construction workers strike against blacklisting

CWU reps determined to stop bosses' attacks

Bromley strikers - fighting on to save our libraries

Asda protests


Housing

Housing - bold, socialist measures necessary


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Standing up for the needs of working-class people


International socialist news and analysis

Drone attacks on Saudi Arabia: Tensions ratcheted up


Opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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