Socialist Worker

Victory at King’s Cross

Issue No. 1927

CONSTRUCTION workers at Laing O’Rourke’s site at King’s Cross, London, have won a significant battle in the campaign for a decent contract.

About 200 workers staged a sit-in on Friday last week after management refused to either recognise the four GMB union stewards the workers had elected or allow GMB officials on site.

After two hours local management conceded. In a sign of rising confidence, a group of workers from Eastern Europe refused to accept management’s promises until they heard it from the stewards themselves.

“So those lads ended up sitting in longer than anyone else,” said one worker.

The central issue in the dispute remains.

Laing has signed a sweetheart deal with the Ucatt union under which workers will be brought onto a contract (rather than be considered self employed)—but at a loss of pay.

“There’s this myth in the press that we are fighting to stay self employed,” says one worker. “That’s rubbish. We all want to be on the books. But we want a proper contract, not a cut in wages.”

The workers are calling for a renegotiated contract and a national ballot before it is accepted.

Laing appears to be targeting workers at other sites. That makes linking up activists across the company all the more vital.

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Sat 13 Nov 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1927
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