Socialist Worker

Wembley walkouts unite the nations

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 1919

PROTESTS BY locked out steel erectors at Wembley stadium continue to grow. Workers demonstrated outside the incomplete stadium last week holding a giant metal chain and padlock.

The workers, members of the GMB and Amicus unions, are demanding justice in their fight for reinstatement.

They were sacked for resisting new conditions being imposed on them, including compulsory weekend working.

In bars and cafes at the huge Wembley site there are posters declaring support for sacked workers—as well as pictures of scabs who won’t be served.

Management attempted to use 40 workers brought over from Holland last week to break the strike. They failed.

The Dutch steel erectors walked out of the site, to the cheers of the locked out workers, complaining bitterly about being “lied to” by management.

“Then they phoned us up and told us that all the problems were solved. We were told to start at 6am today,” said one of the Dutch workers.

“But when we saw these guys outside we decided to walk off the job.”

As the rest of the gang walked out through the gates the locked out workers applauded, calling out, “We’re in this together and we’ll all go back together.”

Some level of talks between management and the unions are likely this week. But the workers are keeping the pickets in place.

“Management engineered this dispute,” one striker told Socialist Worker. “There are 2,000 tonnes of steel they can’t account for.

“The contractors are now falling out among themselves—they want us out of the way.”

Multiplex, the consortium running the prestige Wembley project, made a loss of £6.8 million in the year to 30 June 2003. Yet the company’s directors still got paid £980,000 between them.

In contrast, the sacked steel workers need urgent solidarity. “The support has been excellent, but it needs to keep coming,” said one GMB activist.

“A lot of people are living in digs and need financial support to push this through.”

Send messages of support c/o Graham Caster,

18 Waxwell Lane, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 3EN. Donations to Lloyds TSB,

sort code 77-20-44,

account number 34879760

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Article information

Sat 18 Sep 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1919
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