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Quick Win as Newcastle SolFed Launch Building Workers Campaign

Newcastle SolFed have launched their Building Workers campaign with a lightening quick win. Faced with a site agent who repeatedly refused to provide adequate welfare facilities for a large building site in North Tyneside, SolFed contacted the company with a demand to repair and clean up the toilet block.

Within hours, the toilet block was repaired and cleaned up, and as an onsite SolFed member stated, were being used for the first time in months for what they were intended for.

Newcastle SolFed Building Workers want to speak with anyone who works in construction, building maintenance and engineering. Within these industries more and more workers are increasingly struggling with management abuses, pay freezes, zero hours contracts and especially prone to being stung for their wages from cowboy bosses.

Ian Kerr is dead

Blacklist Support Group statement on the death of chief blacklister Ian Kerr.

Ian Kerr, chief executive of the Consulting Association and full-time blacklister of trade unionists and environmental activists since 1969, when he started work for the infamous Economic League died on Tuesday.

His £50,000 a year salary + bonus + BUPA + Mercedes company car lifestyle, funded by the major UK construction firms including Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Carillion, Kier, BAM, AMEC and AMEY came to a halt when the illegal conspiracy was closed down in 2009.

Blacklist Support Group statement on Crossrail

It is a disgrace that public funds are being spent on blacklisting trade unionists on the Crossrail project. 

Workers have been dismissed from the largest construction project in Europe for raising safety concerns about high voltage cables and for joining the UNITE union. For nearly 3 months there have been daily protests about blacklisting on Crossrail and the firms involved have constantly denied that it is taking place.

On Tuesday Ian Kerr, chief officer of the Consulting Association blacklisting organisation told MPs that his members had talked at length about Crossrail during meetings to discuss the list: "An awful lot of discussion took place at Consulting Association meetings about the Crossrail project.'

Shop steward reinstated at Ratcliffe power station after walkout

Hundreds of people stopped work at Ratcliffe power station in Nottinghamshire last Tuesday after a shop steward was suspended. Rank and file activists from round the country went to the site at 6am and spoke to workers going in, who held onsite meetings and voted to take action in support of their health and safety rep. 600 people eventually walked out unofficially. It is inspiring that various trades took part, not just electricians, including welders, scaffolders and pipefitters. Rank and file activists say that the rep, Jason Poulter, who was suspended six weeks ago, is being victimised for being active in the Besna protests.  He has now been reinstated and is back at Ratcliffe. 

Rank and File electricians occupy Grattes Brothers HQ

This morning the weekly protests got very lively as the rank and file electricians occupied the Grattes Brothers HQ. With only a few days left of the ballot for strike action, we gathered at 6.30 outside the gates of the building site at Kings X. Electricians and supporters leafletted the workers going in and there was a short attempt to block the gate but the police kept a pathway open so people could still go in to work.

All power to the sparks!

The electricians had called a national day of action for the same day as the student protest of November 9th, which looked like it could have a lot of possibilities. Would these two very different movements be able to link up?

Electricians block Oxford Street

In the sixth week of the conflict, following last Wednesday's site occupation, electricians gathered on Oxford Street outside two building sites, as part of demonstrations against the attempts to change working conditions in the largest construction companies. Changes include pay cuts of 35% and de-skilling which would affect thousands of workers. The construction companies are trying to push the changes through by December and are threatening workers with the sack if they don't sign new contracts. 

Electricians occupy site in Farringdon

Today at 7.30 am electricians briefly occupied a building site in protest at attempts to cut their pay and conditions.

The conflict is because the “Big 8” of construction employers want to withdraw from the JIB (Joint Industry Board) agreement on pay, grading and seniority. They want to bring in new grades of semi­skilled electricians earning £10.50 and £14 an hour instead of the current hourly JIB rate of £16.25.  The protests against this change have been going on for several weeks now all across the country. Last week at the Olympic site workers blocked the site entrance for some time but, as the site is so huge, the management just moved people coming in to work to a different gate, so the protesters blocked the main road near the site for twenty minutes. The demo today was bigger, maybe 250- 300 people, and started out next to Farringdon Station.

Campaigners slam Balfour Beatty health and safety award

Trade unionists and anti-blacklisting campaigners have criticised the awarding of a top health and safety honour to the construction firm Balfour Beatty.

The company was recently awarded the Royal Society for the Protection of Accident's most prestigious award at this years Occupational Health and Safety Awards.

Steve Kelly, spokesperson for the Blacklist Support Group, described the award as "offensive".

He commented: "At first I thought this was a joke. Balfour Beatty are the construction company with the WORST record of sacking and blacklisting Safety Representatives in the entire industry."

Blacklisted

Blacklisted is a must-see short film about the victimisation of trade unionists in the UK construction industry and the workers fight for justice. Watch it (below) and spread the word.

View the Blacklist blog here.

 

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