Construction Rank and File Meeting At Conway Hall By Alan Hunter, 25/3/2013

10/04/2013 by socialistfight

Blackfriars rank and file demoThis meeting was called to consider the issue of the sacking of FRANK MORRIS as Senior Steward at the Cross Rail site where there is evidence of 18 companies blacklisted and all the CONSULTING ASSOCIATIONS LIST OF BLACKLISTED EMPLOYERS.

Sharon Graham from the UNITE’s Organising department presented a report on the campaign by Unite to target the Blacklisted listed in the Report. The report which is a leverage report on Crossrail –BFK. She explained that a campaign would be started to target Shareholders and contact all companies involved as a Crossrail BFk.

The objectives of the Leverage Campaign would be to:
1) Reinstatement of all Unite Activists sacked from the EIS Contract

2) Tangible enabling agreement for access to build member led organisation on Crossrail.

3) Use Crossrail Leverage to assist the Blacklist Support group campaign through increased exposure of ‘Blacklist Companies’ and individuals, together with the reemployment of Unite Activists. In simple terms this means getting all Unite Members sacked or prevented from getting work and getting on the site.

Peter Farrell, a UCATT member and member of the Justice for Shrewsbury campaign asked what UCATT is doing, i.e. is there any involvement from the UCATT Leadership. Steve Kelly’s response was “It is not for us to ask Steve Murphy UCATT General Secretary what he is doing”. Kevin Williamson said it was vital that membership and union organisation was put back on the sites like Crossrail-BFK. We must put all our resources to ensure that Unite activists are back working on these sites.

Frank Morris speaking from the Platform said it is for the Unite Stewards to get their confidence back, if Blacklisters are on the site we have to get over this Hurdle. We have to get blacklisted activists back on the site.

John Sheridan a Unite EC Member said that we had to have a Leverage strategy that worked. Steve Atcheson a Unite Activist and a Blacklisted worker who recently won a court case over his own blacklisting said that Blacklisting was an organised attack on the working class and Labour movement, this is an attack on the whole Labour movement and we have to send the project down. Other speakers said we need direct action to get our members back on the site and what is the TUC doing about Blacklisting.

It was pointed out that this was different from BESNA. Sharon Graham explained that Unite had organised 101 organisers on this project alone and that from 15th April Direct Action would be organised around the Crossrail-BFK project. Peter Farrell said it was important to target these sites and Polish workers are employed on these sites mainly as Building Labourers and we have to recruit them into the battle. Irish workers who are killed on these sites don’t know what their rights are.

It is important to recognise that the two tier workforce is in action in Britain and Globally and that Skilled Electricians, Plasterers, pipe fitters and others need to unite with Building labourers who are normally in UCATT or not unionised at all, the separation between skilled workers and Labourers has to stop and there needs to be a joint campaign involving both UCATT and UNITE. We ignore this problem at our peril.Unite GRL

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