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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 September 2012

Solidarity with workers sacked from Crossrail

Twenty eight workers including a Unite steward and safety rep have been dismissed from the Crossrail project in central London.

The workers employed by EIS Electrical were searched and removed from the site at the instruction of Bam Ferrovial Kier (BFK), the consortium of contractors building Crossrail.

Crossrail is going to be one of the largest infrastructure jobs in the whole of Western Europe - if it is unionised, the workforce will earn good wages and the job will be safe.

The termination of EIS on the project and the effective 28 sackings is a brutal attempt to intimidate construction workers on this prestige job and even throughout the industry.

It is yet another attempt by the construction bosses to grab back some of the losses they suffered after their Besna contract was defeated.

This would have led to electricians, plumbers and pipe fitters losing 35% of their wages but it was beaten by a campaign of stoppages, walkouts and protests lasting six months.

Initially, Unite was slow to respond but rank and file Sparks led the charge and the union came on board with a strike ballot that would have meant a stoppage at the oil refinery in Grangemouth.

Faced with this, the biggest of the 'Dirty 7' companies, Balfour Beatty, capitulated and the rest followed suit. This is the biggest victory for workers in the construction industry for 40 years.

Construction firm Crown House have broken away from the existing JIB terms and conditions, with Sparks rightly concerned that this will lead to them bringing in a new Besna.

The Crossrail sackings are another step in this direction - sack workers, victimise the union reps, try to break the union and then intimidate all workers to prepare the way for new worse contracts now or in the near future.

Bosses always try and play off union reps against the workforce but why would a company go to this trouble if they didn't have something sinister up their sleeves?

A strong union is the only way to protect workers. Don't let them divide us.

If they haven't got anything to hide, they should make the commitment that national agreements are followed and these workers are properly transferred (TUPE) over to whoever replaces EIS on the job.


Cardiff

A terrified Bam site manager ran out to meet the first protesters to arrive on 21 September, as construction workers and their supporters gathered in a quiet suburb of Cardiff to protest in solidarity with the 28 workers sacked by BFK on the Crossrail project.

As the crowd increased, he gave up trying to convince us that the right of companies to make profits was more important than the right of workers to get direct employment and a decent rate of pay, and protesters settled down to leaflet the around 100 workers currently employed on the project.

Bam has been contracted by Cardiff University to put up the Haydn Ellis building, a 20 million research facility.

A Welsh representative on the national Rank and File Committee explained: "Crossrail is a multi-billion pound project that will eventually employ thousands of electricians and other workers.

"Bam seems to be trying to clear the main union organisers off the site at the beginning."

Bam's actions will backfire - the workers on site enthusiastically supported the protest (one young worker forced into bogus self-employment shouted: "F@&k the agencies: give us holiday pay" as he drove past.

The unions are reconquering the construction industry - provocations like Bam's actions in London will only accelerate that.

Construction workers will be lobbying Cardiff and Vale Health Board with Cardiff Against The Cuts to demand they blacklist the blacklisters, and cut construction contracts with anti-trade union firms.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 26 September 2012:


Fightback against austerity

Action against austerity

Teachers: march together, then strike together against austerity

Reasons to join the 20 October demo, reasons to build for a 24-hour strike

General strike, the biggest weapon

Model resolution for a 24-hour general strike


Socialist Party feature

Labour Party conference: Can Labour give a lead in the fight against austerity?


International socialist news and analysis

Afghanistan war: end this 'pointless waste of life'

Spain: March on Madrid kicks off a hot autumn of struggle

South Africa: 'Lonmin settlement a victory - struggle pays!'


Socialist Party news and analysis

TUSC conference: A step forward for working class political representation

Murdoch empire: a whole barrel of bad apples

Action needed to save NHS from privatisation

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

Workers strike as Argos tightens the screws

Knowsley council fears anti-privatisation campaign

Solidarity with workers sacked from Crossrail

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

No excuse! Thousands protest against victim blaming on London Slutwalk

Scrap student fees

Enthusiastic start to the year for Socialist Students

Why Hull council should defy the government's cuts to services

Tameside library closures - "Get used to it" says councillor

Opportunistic speeches at Hull march against NHS cuts

Cellist Alfia Nakipbekova speaks out about Kazakhstan

Opencast mining: "Protect us from Provectus"


Socialist history

Belfast Outdoor Relief Strike 1932


 

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