Socialist Worker

Exposed: construction bosses’ secret plans to block national strike

Issue No. 2156

Secret documents seen by Socialist Worker show how building bosses are planning to prevent a successful vote for action in the national engineering construction ballot.

Up to 30,000 engineering construction workers are to be balloted on national industrial action over pay and jobs.

The Engineering Construction Industry Association has drawn up a list of measures which construction and engineering employers can take against members of Unite and GMB, who are preparing to strike over a 5.5 percent pay claim and attacks on the national agreement.

 The leaked documents quote the ECIA’s employment relations manager, Simon Bailey, advising firms not to allow some mass meetings to take place.

 “Don’t give names and addresses of your workforce to full time officers of the unions and shop stewards. Don’t allow full time officers access to your workforce, unless their intentions for the visit are made clear and they are not related to the ballot.

 “Don’t allow your shop stewards time off to organise the ballot or promote a vote in support of industrial action.”

  Instead, the association tells firms to stress “the depressed state of the industry and the economy in general.”

 “Industrial action could be harmful to the long term prospects of the UK engineering construction industry and its workforce.

“It is therefore in the employers’ interests not to act in a way which aids and abets the unions to run a successful ballot.

 “The employers have nothing to hide or feel guilty about.”

The document also argues that companies should not change terms and conditions during the ballot as “aggravating your workforce with other matters will only raise tensions at this time and make them more likely to support industrial action.”

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