OVER 200 laggers and engineering workers were on unofficial strike at the beginning of this week at the Aberthaw power station in South Wales. They walked out on Friday 4 June after their employers said they would not be employed on national 'blue book' terms and conditions.
They are employed by contractors such as Mitsubishi Babcock. 'These companies are trying to break national terms and conditions all over the place,' says one GMB union official. 'That gives what is happening at Aberthaw national importance.' The strike has been marked by high levels of picketing. The site is on the main road to Cardiff airport and pickets have blocked the traffic several times. They have maintained effective picketing despite attempts by the police to break up picket lines.
Strikers also faced down the threat by one contractor to sack its workforce if they did not return to work last Wednesday. The GMB union has formally repudiated the unofficial action to stay within the anti-union laws.
But local officials are trying to negotiate with the employers. The action has had a major impact on work at the site and strikers have shown they have the power to win a very significant victory over defending national terms and conditions.