Socialist Worker

Isle of Grain dispute showed how to unite workers

Issue No. 2153

Instead of narrow campaigns over “local” or British jobs, the model should be the dispute at the Isle of Grain site in Kent in March.

Pay rates for foreign workers were increased after unions threatened industrial action.

Subcontractor Remak was found to be paying its workers £4 less than the nationally agreed rate. A contract handed to the GMB union by one of the Polish employees in question was passed onto the coordinators of the project, the multinational Alstom, which was made to enforce £14 an hour.

Alstom have now agreed and implemented the groundbreaking decision to have a full time senior shop steward at the site.

As a result four additional shop stewards were elected—one of them is Polish.

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