Socialist Worker

Mass walkout at Dragon Liquefied Natural Gas terminal over health and safety fears

Issue No. 2055

Up to 1,000 construction workers walked out last week at the Dragon Liquefied Natural Gas terminal site in Waterston, Milford Haven, in south west Wales.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is launching an investigation to find out what caused a 40-year-old welder from engineering firm Ledwoods to lose consciousness at the jetty at the site.

He had been suffering from breathing difficulties before passing out. The site was shut as a safety inspection was carried out and workers were able to return on Tuesday.

However, the workers in the GMB and Amicus unions met and decided not to return to work and stood at the gates.

Mass meetings took place every day to decide whether the site was safe enough to return.

The main concern was the lack of emergency cover on the site and the time it took to respond to the incident.

Strikers demanded that a phone line should be installed at the jetty and improvements made to the site ambulance.

They were also unhappy at the lack of a nurse on duty during night shifts, the unfenced holes in the ground, and the lack of drinking water fountains that were available for workers.

Despite an Amicus union official informing strikers most of their requests would be met, they decided to stay out another day until the changes had actually been put in place.

One union member at the site told Socialist Worker, “It’s funny how it took a walkout for people to start taking health and safety seriously. We stayed out.

“Then on Friday morning three safety representatives went through the gates to confirm that management promises had been acted on.

“They came back and said that three drinking water supplies had been installed with more to come, that the radios worked on emergency channel all along the jetty, and that a landline was being installed.

“Management had done a U-turn so we went back.”

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Tue 12 Jun 2007, 19:56 BST
Issue No. 2055
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