Socialist Worker

Sparks tell bosses: we won’t sign your rubbish contracts

Issue No. 2285

Some 150 electricians returned their unsigned contracts in protest to Balfour Beatty’s headquarters at Hillington in Scotland last Friday.

The same happened at Thornaby on Teesside on Monday morning.

Balfour Beatty and Crown House had threatened that workers would be disciplined and could be sacked if new contracts weren’t signed by this Monday.

At the Glasgow protest the group also handed in around 60 unsigned letters from fellow electricians working at the Sellafield nuclear power station in Cumbria.

The company refused to admit any of the electricians to the building. They were told to put their contracts and accompanying letters in a basket outside.

Rank and file activists from around the country met with Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey last week.

In the discussion activists raised a number of concerns about the union’s role in the dispute.

In response the union has pledged to support all protests organised by the rank and file.

At the end of last year a whole series of protests did not have the official support of Unite.

Following the success of the 9 November national protest, the meeting also discussed calling another national demonstration.

The proposed dates are Monday 30 January and Wednesday 15 February.

The bosses are trying to bully people into signing up to savage pay cuts, the end of the JIB pension, cuts to travel time and fares, the ending of the right to claim unfair dismissal from day one and giving the employer the right to downgrade conditions whenever they choose.

The new terms are set to be introduced in nine weeks.

From day one the rank and file has driven this dispute.

McCluskey also assured the rank and file that Unite will begin a ballot at three companies at the beginning of January.

Unite now has to get on with the ballots.

The union originally said that there would be a ballot of three companies over Christmas. Then it said there would only be a re-ballot of Balfour. Then following the talks with the bosses at Acas, it said that would not begin until “the new year”.

An escalation of the dispute is urgently needed.

Workers at Grangemouth are set to protest this Friday.

Unite national rank and file meeting. Saturday 14 January, 1pm–4pm, Carrs Lane Church Centre, Birmingham B4 7SX


Walkout at West Burton

Workers at West Burton power station construction site struck unofficially on Monday after a colleague died.

The 31 year old, who died in his digs, was the tenth construction worker to have died during the project.

The workers struck as a mark of respect.


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News
Tue 10 Jan 2012, 19:50 GMT
Issue No. 2285
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