Picketing Wembley Stadium

TWO HUNDRED and fifty construction workers, members of the GMB and
Amicus unions, who are working on the new Wembley stadium were sacked at
two hours’ notice on 10 August and locked out.

Ken Smith

They have since mounted pickets of hundreds at the site, had publicity
in the national press and also had a protest of 60 workers at the Football
Association (FA) headquarters. They will be balloting to make this an
official dispute.

The workers were initially working for a company called Cleveland
Bridge, which was dropped from the Wembley project after the main arch was
completed, just over a month ago. At that stage, the workers say the
project was ahead of schedule and on budget. Now the companies and FA
claim it is behind schedule and over budget.

The workers were all taken on by a company called Fasttrack who are
refusing to honour the transfer regulations (TUPE) and have changed the
workers’ hours.

A senior GMB steward at the picket line told the socialist:

"Multiplex, the main contractor from Australia, is making us a
scapegoat because they’ve made a mess of the job. Cleveland Bridge had
it six weeks in front and on budget but it’s fallen behind now. They
want the media to point the finger and blame us.

"I’d ask all trade unionists to give as us much as help as they
can; especially financially because 80% of the sacked workers are from
outside London and the lads on the picket line have digs to pay and
travel to cover. We’re adamant that we are going to fight to get our
jobs back. They are our jobs and it’s the men that have been made
redundant not the jobs."

Another shop steward from GMB spoke to the socialist outside the
Football Association:

"The FA have stated that they don’t want to be involved with
this dispute with Multiplex. But they are going to have to get involved.

"We think that the lack of interest is from the pressure from
the government over the 2012 Olympic bid.

"A lot of the information being fed to the press and the FA is
untrue. We just want to get back what we had and we are asking any trade
unionists to support us."

The workers have had some initial success in getting other workers not
to cross picket lines and it appears that very little construction is
going on at the site.

Trade unionists in London have already started taking up the cause and
the London RMT regional council has donated £250. The workers themselves
also organised leafleting at the Middlesbrough -Fulham football match.

  • Donations and messages of support should be sent to Graham
    Caster, 18 Waxwell Lane, Pinner, Middlesex HA5. Tel: 07968 022695.4