Socialist Worker

Construction deal is rushed through

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2180

After months of negotiation, unofficial strikes and official ballots, the national agreement in construction has finally been pushed through.

The deal was agreed by union negotiators and the employers on 4 November. But, strangely, the details of the deal were then kept secret.

They were not available at a national construction stewards meeting on 17 November. The stewards did, however, agree to back the new deal.

It then went out for a consultative ballot held two days later on 19 November.

It resulted in 2,517 for and 1,546 against out of 4,063 votes cast. This is out of a 20,000 strong workforce.

It took until 24 November to count the votes, partially due to bad weather delaying returned votes from Sellafield.

Only after the ballot result was announced was the agreement posted on the internet.

Socialist Worker understands that Lindsey Oil Refinery and other sites involved in unofficial action had mass meetings and voted against the agreement.

There were plenty of warm words in the deal, but little substance on how the poisonous subcontracting system can be held to account. The pay deal is a rise of just 2 percent.

On vacancies and transparency of contracts, the employers have made some concessions.

A register of unemployed workers in the industry has now been agreed.

But it’s still well short of a cast-iron process to make sure that what everyone gets paid is crystal clear.

The offer was well short of what could have been won if the strikes from earlier this year had been followed up.

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Article information

Tue 1 Dec 2009, 18:34 GMT
Issue No. 2180
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