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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 June 2021

Gateshead: Sacked electricians reinstated

Rank and file sparks at the Amazon construction site at Follingsby Park, Gateshead, protesting on the day before they achieved victory by being reinstated.

Rank and file sparks at the Amazon construction site at Follingsby Park, Gateshead, protesting on the day before they achieved victory by being reinstated.   (Click to enlarge)

Elaine Brunskill, South Tyne and Wear Socialist Party

There has been a victory for rank-and-file sparks at the Amazon construction site at Follingsby Park, Gateshead. Alongside victories such as the fightback against the use of Electrical Service Operatives (ESOs) at Hinkley Point nuclear power plant, this has clearly boosted the idea that if you fight you can win!

Around 40 electricians had downed tools and walked off site because of the reckless practice by electrical contractor SIS Systems of using unskilled labourers to do the work of skilled electricians.

Rather than speaking to the workers to ensure the job was safe, the unscrupulous bosses sacked the workers for highlighting safety issues. For the hapless contractors, their profits came before safety.

Amazon has bragged that around 1,300 workers will be employed at the Gateshead warehouse. Those workers deserve a safe environment to work in.

The whole matter of who takes responsibility for the sackings, safety, and so on, is a tangled web. One worker commented: "The issue is the client has appointed a contractor, who has appointed a sub-contractor, who uses an agency, who has an umbrella company!"

Rather than being cowed by the sackings, the rank-and-file sparks acted courageously, and often with humour.

The police turned up at the protest, clearly to ensure the interests of the bosses were upheld. The protest outside the plant was successively blocking deliveries and challenging those crossing the picket line. The police told them they couldn't stand in front of the entrance to the site - so they defiantly began to walk back and forth across the entrance.

The sparks expressed gratitude to the Socialist Party for supporting them throughout their struggle, and were impressed with how the National Shop Stewards Network got their protest to a wider audience.

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In The Socialist 30 June 2021:


What we think

NHS after 3 July protests Trade unions must organise serious action


NHS

Fight to save our NHS

Royal London Hospital

Fight the health and care bill

Keep private hands off NHS patient data

We don't want a USA-style healthcare system


Railways

Post-pandemic railway battles loom

East Mids train guards strike


News

Stop the Channel 4 sell-off!

Hopeless Hancock replaced

Millionaires multiply during pandemic

Dalian Atkinson - police found guilty of killing ex-footballer


Biden police reform

Can Biden reform the police?


Workplace news

Socialist candidate wins NIPSA general secretary election

Gateshead: Sacked electricians reinstated

Support Gary Clark for CWU executive

Support Sharon Graham for Unite general secretary

End bullying and victimisation at Oaks Park school

Unite members step up action against bullying Mungo's managers

Sandwell Leisure workers: No to 'fire and rehire'


International

The Israeli working class

German Greens: The image and reality


Campaigns

Protesters halt Nadia's eviction

Brighton: Moulsecoomb strike against academisation

York residents demand land for local community needs

Young Socialists march in London

Pride is a campaign, not a business opportunity


Readers' opinion

TV Review: GB News

Readers' comments


 

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Related links:

Electricians:

triangleStop press: Sparks walk out

triangleRank and file sparks at the Amazon construction site at Follingsby Park, Gateshead, protesting on the day before they achieved victory by being reinstated.

triangleProtesting in Enfield, London, in support of electricians sacked by contractor SIS Systems at Amazon's warehouse under construction at Follingsby Park, Gateshead. 21.6.21

triangleSparks win victory!

triangleReading, 26.5.21: Standing with the #Sparks blockading #AWE in the fight against de-skilling #No2ESO. NG Bailey & Balfour Beatty must pull away from their deskilling agenda!

Gateshead:

triangleLocked down, hard up - Fight back!

triangleAdding demands to the weekly claps

triangleGateshead FC crisis: save our Heed!

triangleHuge crowd turns out to hear Jeremy Corbyn

Workers:

triangleSocialists and the four-day week

triangleWorkers at 13 colleges to strike over pay

triangleTory cuts to Universal Credit: we need a union fightback

Protest:

triangleYork: Non-binary and trans rights protest

triangleWest Sussex 'disability tax' - our protest is not going away

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleBexley bin workers win big gains after six-week strike

Construction:

triangleLondon floods: Privatisation and heavy rain are a dangerous mix

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