“The picket line is here and we’re not leaving”

Scunthorpe scaffolders picket line 18 October

Scunthorpe scaffolders picket line 18 October   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Around 60 scaffolders, members of Unite the Union, who work on the maintenance contract at British Steel in Scunthorpe, are on all-out strike to win the industry rate for the job. One of the strikers talked to the Socialist:

We’re in dispute with our contractor Actavo, because we want fair pay for the job we do safely and skilfully day in, day out. Working at height is the biggest risk and most dangerous task in the industry. When other trades cannot access something safely, we’re asked to make it safe. Scaffolders are the front line working at height so that there’s a safe area to work, then others can do their jobs safely.

We’re now entering week three of the strike. We’ve had to change things throughout the strike, such as times on picket lines and manning, to try to stop other scaffold firms crossing if they’re not showing support or solidarity, even driving past fellow scaffolders on a picket who just want the same pay as them. We’re demanding our company Actavo pay us the national agreement of pay for our trade, a rate of pay their other scaffolder employees elsewhere actually receive. I see no difference, I would like to know what difference Actavo see?

Solidarity and morale is high and everyone is strong on the picket line with plenty of support off the public. Doing the marches round the plant, even stopping the traffic this week, is to remind the company that we’re here and we’re not leaving while they try to look the other way and ignore what’s right.