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Energy giant 'fanciful to the point of paranoia'
Goliath got a bloody nose on 21 October, when the attempt by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to use anti-terror legislation against blacklisted construction worker Steve Acheson was thrown out by the High Court.
Steve is a long-standing trade unionist, a fighter for the rights and conditions of construction workers, who consequently has been systematically denied work by the industry bosses. Sacked from Fiddlers Ferry power station in Widnes, Cheshire, 10 months ago, Steve has since mounted a peaceful protest outside the gates, demanding his job back. Incredibly, the company sought an injunction against Steve and his protest using 'anti-terror' legislation.
Steve spoke to The Socialist about his appearance at the High Court in London:
"Apparently SSE had applied for an injunction, without me knowing anything about it, back in July; against eco-protesters, and they included me in it. But the judge at that hearing, Mr Justice Lewis, said 'Mr Acheson needs to know about this' and that was why I got handed the basic court papers outside Fiddlers Ferry. I didn't have the full papers till the very day of the hearing.
The judge in my case, Mr Justice Mann, said to SSE: 'You are saying Mr Acheson is a threat to the power station, yet no papers were served from July to September - that doesn't seem very urgent to me'.
SSE's lawyer said they were 'short of resources' and the judge responded: 'but you cannot have deemed him much of a threat because the papers sat on someone's desk for three months'.
The judge said he had read the papers and my statement and he found SSE's case 'fanciful to the point of paranoia'. He said 'Mr Acheson's evidence supports his account, and you have supplied no evidence to the contrary'.
The judge asked me if I would give an undertaking not to enter the power station or disrupt traffic, and I said: 'Just as I have been all along, that's no problem, I'll give that undertaking'. Then he turned to SSE and said: 'Is that good enough?' and they said: 'No it's not, he's a nuisance and we will pursue it through the County Court'.
If I had not been a member of a trade union I would have had no chance, and I would not have been able to challenge the distortions in the SSE court application. I urge all construction workers, any workers in fact, to join their trade unions."
In The Socialist 28 October 2009:
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Marxist analysis: history
Socialist Party reviews