The fight of some 400 construction workers who are locked out at Saltend in Hull, Yorkshire, is at a crucial point.
The workers, in the Unite and GMB unions, were employed by sub-contractor Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd. They have been in dispute with plant owner Vivergo for several weeks after they were told they no longer had jobs.
Around 200 workers marched in London last Wednesday to lobby shareholders at BP’s annual general meeting (see page 3).
The day before, some 50 police, some on horses, used what the GMB union called “heavy handed” tactics against workers outside the Saltend plant. Unfortunately, there have been no protests at the site since—in order to “enable talks” with management.
Worryingly, Unite officials seem keen to broker a deal that would enable workers to apply for jobs with any new contractor, but would not allow them to be transferred over on the same terms and conditions.
This should happen under construction workers’ national agreement. The solution to the dispute is not backroom deals that weaken the national agreement. It is to escalate the fight and for other sites to come out in support.
At a minimum, the protests at Saltend should resume.
Donations to Saltend Hardship Fund, 1 Manby Road, Scunthorpe, DN17 2LA. Email firstname.lastname@example.org