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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 February 2008

Organise and fight back!

Across our Manchester sky line, numerous tower cranes stand testimony to the billion pound construction industry. Yet behind the perimeter fencing is a world of rogue employers flourishing on PFI-financed and government-funded sites.

Steve Acheson, EPIU-Unite steward and branch secretary, personal capacity.

A huge 2 million theft of holiday entitlement has become the annual norm of employers. These companies freely work illegally without any redress.

Many workers are forced to work on an enforced self-employment basis. Bogus self-employment is especially prevalent in the electrical industry, consequently employers' National Insurance payments are evaded on a massive scale.

Union reps are thrown off site unlawfully, so removing any defence of workers' rights. This gives the employers carte blanche to arbitrarily sack any workers seeking justice in the workplace.

An aggressive nature is a better qualification than competence for supervision. So window cleaners, holiday reps, debt collectors, etc are taking charge of workforces on various electrical contracts. If a union representative is permitted he will be under the control of the employer and will not be representative of workers' interests.

The last 12 months has seen an acceleration of attacks by employers on workers' rights. Contracts have been torn up and new detrimental working conditions have been imposed with scant regard for national agreements. This is happening in nearly every industry and will continue until we organise and fight back.

The usual rhetoric from the trade union leaders needs to be backed with action, and these leaders need to lead. The unions are so preoccupied with avoiding the sequestration of funds and assets, they have forgotten their biggest asset is the membership.

Membership is secured on the back of union victories and strong representation, not the present capitulation with too much reliance placed on the legal system.

We intend to bring an end to the 40 years of interference by the Electrical Contractors' Association in our unions. We reserve the right to elect our representatives and want no more cosy alliances between stooge representatives and the employers.

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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.
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In The Socialist 13 February 2008:

Stop NHS privatisation now!


Local Government workers

Birmingham council workers' biggest strike for decades

'Single status' in the West Midlands

Bosses prepare to force through more cuts

Newham workers angry at councillors


Socialist Students

Uni Fees must be fought!

Feature: The great university swindle


War and terrorism

War and occupation in Iraq


Socialist Party news and analysis

Defend abortion rights

Millionaire welcomes economic recession!

Northern Rock

Liverpool's tale of two cities

Cardiff marches to save schools

100 people pack London world economy meeting


Transport

Cuts and backlogs cause delays

Tangled web at Metronet


International socialist news and analysis

Polish miners gain strike victory due to iron determination

Chad conflict - part of a wider power struggle


Interview

Prison officers: Fighting for trade union rights

Building the Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Comment

Comment: Opportunist blunder further splits Church of England


Workplace news and analysis

Land Registry staff vote for action

London Underground: Strike ballot in safety row

Campaign Against Climate Change trade union conference

Organise and fight back!

Shelter staff ballot for action


 

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