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Runcorn: Workers' solidarity scores victory
A Runcorn TPS worker
There was an unofficial walkout by construction workers at Runcorn thermal power station on 13 February in another dispute over safety issues on the site in north west England.
During the recent storms a section of cladding from a flue stack blew off on the neighbouring Ineos Chlor plant and the site was evacuated.
On returning to work the next day some workers refused to go onto the site due to concerns over site safety despite assurances from Keppel Segers (KS), the company in overall charge on the site.
A mass meeting was called at 10.30am and it was moved that we would cabin up for two hours with the reps to meet with management and reconvene the meeting for a report back.
At the second meeting we were told that there had been no discussions with KS management over the safety issues.
They said if we returned to normal working there would be no loss of monthly bonus for the workers who had gone to work at the start of shift but no pay for the two hours and there would be a meeting with the reps later in the day.
This was rejected out of hand by the workforce and it was moved that we withdraw labour and return the following day for a report back on negotiations.
At the meeting on Friday morning we were told that KS had agreed to review the safety policy and offered outline proposals to the reps.
However prior to the meeting, one of the supervisors let slip to me that the Permit to Work issuers, responsible for safety assessment on the site, would not take responsibility for the permits they were issuing, effectively making them worthless.
I reported this to the meeting and it was moved that we would return to site and cabin up again and claim pay for the day as we did not have a safe workplace, which we won.
Another example of how an intransigent management can be forced to move by workers' solidarity.
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