All Around the UK subcategories:
UK Towns and cities keywords:
12 December 2017
Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout
Rob Williams, chair of National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN)
- Force Balfour back
- Defend direct employment!
One week after Unite's national Day of Action against blacklisting by the construction companies, 54 electricians were locked out of the Woolwich Crossrail site by Balfour Beatty.
In a tremendous act of solidarity, they were joined in an impromptu picket by the rest of Balfour's 150 electricians, who refused to go into work.
Another 70 workers for VVB Electrical walked off the job in support at the North Woolwich, City Airport and Plumstead portals.
They are determined to keep the pickets going until they force Balfour to keep them on through to the New Year and beyond.
Walkouts at other Crossrail sites and other Balfour projects can force the bosses back. Given that the workers have been sacked for exercising their legal right to hold a strike ballot, alongside the protest action the union should look immediately at claims for trade union victimisation and a claim for interim relief for the members.
Balfour was one of the eight building employers who last year, collectively paid an estimated compensation of up to £75 million to blacklisted workers.
Another of the firms, Skanska, was one of the targets on last Wednesday's day of action, with workers, including many from the Woolwich job, joining the protests both inside and outside their HQ.
These companies deny the union's claim that these anti-worker, anti-union practices continue to this day. Yet the electricians were in the process of balloting for industrial action for a finishing bonus when yesterday they reported being summoned one by one to the office and put on 'gardening leave', effectively paid off until Christmas with no return.
Laid-off workers said that they were told that agency staff weren't replacing them, yet there have been reports of agency workers being signed up at the Whitechapel site.
As is common in the construction industry, this comes across as 'scrooge' bosses getting rid of workers before Christmas to avoid their financial responsibilities.
The story of Crossrail has been one anti-union measure after another on what is the biggest taxpayer funded project in Western Europe.
In 2013, Frank Morris, now on the Unite Executive, fought and won his reinstatement after being excluded from the project for 12 months.
A year ago, workers at the Tottenham Court Road site lost their jobs after fighting for a bonus payment with workers across Crossrail.
All trade unionists must build solidarity and support for the Woolwich workers to inflict a defeat on Balfour and win a victory for direct employment that will benefit all construction workers.
19 Sep Blairites must go
19 Sep The fog of Brexit
Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777
Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206
Regional Socialist Party organisers:
Eastern: 0798 202 1969
East Mids: 0773 797 8057
London: 020 8988 8786
North East: 0784 114 4890
North West 07769 611 320
South East: 020 8988 8777
South West: 07759 796 478
Southern: 07833 681910
Wales: 07935 391 947
West Mids: 02476 555 620
Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551