Socialist Worker

700 protest over lockout at Saltend, Hull

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2245

Workers protesting in Hull on Monday  (Pic: Ken Coyne)

Workers protesting in Hull on Monday (Pic: Ken Coyne)

Hundreds of workers protested on Monday of this week in solidarity with workers locked out of the Saltend biofuel construction site in Hull, east Yorkshire.

Workers from North Lincolnshire refineries Lindsey and ConocoPhillips, Pembroke power station in Wales, and Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire joined the locked out workers.

Management put up a fence to block a gate to the area that workers had used to hold rallies since the lockout started two weeks ago.

Workers marched to the gate to rally.

They then drove into Hull and marched around the town centre. They held a rally of up to 700 workers.

A local Unison union member spoke, as did Ben Morris from Sheffield NUT union and Rob Williams from the National Shop Stewards Network.

According to Keith Gibson of the GMB union, “We had a mass meeting this morning at Saltend and marched to the BP site.

“There has been a great turnout and we are here to step up the action and hit management where we can.”

The fight of the locked out Saltend workers is one for everyone in the construction industry.

Yet again, the subcontracting system has allowed bosses to victimise workers.

Vivergo Fuels—owned by BP, British Sugar and DuPont—runs the plant. It cancelled a contract with Redhall Engineering Solutions, saying the project is behind schedule.


Vivergo claims it has nothing to do with them. This is nonsense.

Instead of transferring them to a new contractor to continue the work, bosses locked them out.

The workers want to be employed by the new contractors to finish the job.

This is what should happen under the national construction agreement with the unions.

Behind the dispute lies a concerted attempt by multinational construction companies to tear up hard-won agreements covering safety, wages and conditions.

The lockout is a clear attempt to attack a militant workforce.

The industry is wracked with corruption. The building bosses run blacklists to keep trade union militants off their sites.

As long as the poisonous system of contracting and subcontracting remains, there will be constant attempts to set worker against worker.

Everyone must stand against such divisions.

Militancy and unofficial action on construction sites terrifies the employers.

The delegations from other sites on the demonstration shows the potential for solidarity.

Since this is a national attack, there needs to be a national response.

Shutting down every construction site, power station and refinery around Britain would hit the multinationals where it hurts—in their profits.

Solidarity, including militant industrial action, is the only language the construction bosses understand.

National action has the power not just to win back the jobs, but to transform construction in favour of workers.

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Article information

Tue 29 Mar 2011, 18:01 BST
Issue No. 2245
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