Rank and file electricians and supporters picketed the Crossrail project in west London on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
Some 28 Unite union members working at the Westbourne Park site were sacked last week. Two other Unite reps have also been removed from the site. This could be the start of a major battle over safety and unionisation on the Crossrail project.
The pickets turned round trucks and blocked the road. When site security objected to the use of site barriers to block the entrance, picketers temporarily occupied the site.
The four hour picket on Monday showed the depth of feeling over the Crossrail project. It is not fully unionised and is not sticking to the national agreement. Workers point out that the job is due to run to 2018, so it is rather early for layoffs.
Unite safety rep Rodney Valentine was removed from the site immediately after he was elected, and suspended from site for six weeks.
Shop steward Frank Morris says he was banned from the site after raising safety issues. An electrical supervisor was removed after taking a picture of what he considered unsafe cables.
“If this company gets away with union busting, it will spread,” said London rank and file electrician Ian Bradley. “This is something we simply cannot stand for and will fight all the way.”