Over 40 construction workers protested on 14 March outside the Shard site at London Bridge. These workers were fresh from the victory over the 'Dirty Seven' construction companies who had tried to impose the Besna contract, which would have deskilled the industry and cut wages by 35%. They were now taking on the construction bosses over their use of agency working in the construction industry.
The Shard site is run by Mace who, like all the other employers, use agencies to allow them to pay lower wages than the national agreement, JIB. They use this strategy to attack the terms and conditions which have been agreed with the unions.
Loads of Shard workers took leaflets onto the site. They explained that Mace is a profitable multinational company but is forcing the workers to take pay rates significantly lower than the national agreement. Workers are working overtime without overtime payment and are being denied other nationally agreed payments.
It's clear that, after their marathon six-month campaign to defeat the Besna, the confidence of construction workers has been raised. They now want to take on the other burning issues in the industry like agency working and blacklisting.
These protests will continue and they will act as a check on their union Unite and the officials when they enter into the negotiations with the construction companies. The companies want to force concessions out of the union to worsen the JIB but these electricians, pipefitters and plumbers are determined not to offer any concessions and to improve the JIB.