Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1071/30182

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 January 2020

Interview with a forestry worker: Organise to improve conditions and tackle climate emergency

The environment is near the top of everyone's agenda currently, as it should be, due to the scale of the crisis that we face now and in the future.

Something that can be far from people's minds, however, is the day-to-day experiences of workers toiling on the land.

I spoke to a friend - a forestry worker and Unite union member - who talked anonymously about some of the pressing issues in his industry and what can be done about them.

"You typically have a quota of between five and 20 tonnes of timber a day. The job is completely manual - we don't use big harvester machines - so that's five tonnes done with just you and a chainsaw.

Its hard manual labour and you're out in the elements all day. I'm lucky, as me and my colleagues are on contracts, but the majority of forestry workers in the country are 'self-employed' much like construction workers. Most workers are employed through big companies and not directly by who they are working for.

Safety

Safety is one of the biggest issues for us all, in that health and safety practice doesn't really exist. Recently our boss proposed that we work in the dark and that to do so he would provide us with head torches in a bid to increase productivity!

When anyone works in the dark there are increased risks. Imagine it's been raining all day, there are branches and timber all over the ground and the fell goes wrong. Serious injury or death is around the corner. This can also happen during daylight hours.

My colleagues are not union members; it's not a done thing in this industry. However, I organised and spoke to workmates during a break. We all agreed that if the boss asked us to work like that at any time, we would walk off the job."

This shows how the basics of union work can be done, and clear and simple demands can lead to a growth of confidence amongst workers.

Trade unions, particularly Unite, should orientate resources into the industry to recruit and organise, to establish basic health and safety, and standards of pay and conditions.

If we are to tackle the climate emergency then we need skills, and these skills exist in this industry. With a unionised workforce in this sector we could firmly put on the agenda the planning of the environment, for workers and communities - not for the profit of the landowners.

Ben Mayor, York

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 29 January 2020:


What we think

No 'blank cheque' for Labour leadership candidates


News

End health and wealth divide - fight for our NHS

Unite union nominates Long-Bailey and Burgon

Coronavirus: capitalism limits response to viral outbreaks

HS2 debacle: nationalise rail and construction!

Johnson's Huawei internet deal underlines world trade tensions

Them & Us


Workplace news

University and College Union: Pensions, pay and conditions dispute reach a crucial stage

PCS union elections: Nominate candidates fighting austerity and for union democracy

Interview with a forestry worker

Westex carpet strike


Brexit and the economy

Brexit and British capitalism - why Johnson's juggernaut is set to jackknife


Stop the cuts

Fight the closure of Royal Glamorgan A&E

Save Hampden Nursery in Camden

We need socialists in London's City Hall

Unite regional committee votes to support anti-cuts Enfield councillor

Cuts to women's services cost lives


Campaigns

Socialist sellers: Opposing the Tories & fighting cuts

London protest against Modi's racist law


International news

Libya: Civil war and chaos follow interventions by world and regional powers

Trump's trashing of the environment - Dump the capitalist profit system!

CWI round-up


Readers' opinion

TV review: The Trial of Christine Keeler

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 29 January 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Workers:

triangleBuild independent workers' media with May Day greetings

triangleTrade unions - new decade, new challenges

triangleForeign Office workers' strike

triangleSolidarity with Turkish workers

triangleWestex workers win increased pay offer in 11th week of strike

Union:

triangleBig Unison south east regional meeting votes for anti-cuts position

triangleLondon NSSN meeting

triangleLambeth Unison letter

trianglePCS union: Uniting the left around a leadership that can win for members

US:

triangleThem & Us

triangleCouncil houses - not private property developers

triangleThem & Us

Environment:

triangleCuts and climate change cause floods

triangleSocialist Students says democratise the climate strike movement

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/2/20

Rhondda Cynon Taff

Keep the pressure on to save Royal Glam A&E

19/2/20

Climate change

'Roses are red, violets are blue, BP and Shell - we're coming for you'

19/2/20

Newham

Stop Newham Labour's cuts and gentrification

19/2/20

Unite

London bus rep dismissal update

19/2/20

Birmingham

Support Clive Walder

19/2/20

East London

East London anti-academy strikes escalate

19/2/20

NEU

Sixth-form strikers stand firm for increased funding

19/2/20

Unite

Unite union executive council elections

19/2/20

CWU

CWU: Build for a massive Yes vote in Royal Mail

19/2/20

Hackney

Hackney parking wardens strike for 15 an hour

19/2/20

The Socialist

The Socialist: Ideas to change society

19/2/20

Peterborough

Peterborough food workers picket and protest

19/2/20

The Socialist

Socialist sellers

19/2/20

Environment

Socialist Students says democratise the climate strike movement

12/2/20

Climate change

Johnson emits huge quantities of hot air!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999