Scaffolders join the protest across the country



Protests on construction sites across Britain turned into mass stay-aways last week. Groups of other construction workers have united with electricians to walk off the job.

At the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire, electricians, scaffolders and welders all stayed out of work. More than 200 electricians picketed both gates at SSI steel works (formerly Corus) in Redcar, Teeside. Scaffolders and electricians refused to work.

A student delegation from Teesside University unfurled a banner saying  “Students and workers unite and fight”. One worker from Middlesbrough said, “These protest are about freezing wages. “We’re going to need national action as these changes are going to have a knock-on effect on everybody.”

One electrician spoke of the solidarity they have received from students while another spoke about the importance of unity between public and private sector workers. A short meeting concluded with electricians blocking the Redcar entrance of the site. Traffic backed up around the roundabout.

Workers also stayed off the job at the Pembroke power station in Wales. Other sites to have walkouts included Stanlow in Ellesmere Port, Grangemouth in Scotland, Sellafield in Cumbria, West Burton in Nottinghamshire, Runcorn, Drax and Eggborough in north Yorkshire, Ferrybridge in west Yorkshire, Hinckley point in Somerset and Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire.

In Saltend workers on one project protested and in Liverpool 20 workers from the John Moores University site refused to work and joined a protest there. In London, up to 200 workers protested at the Farringdon Crossrail construction site.

The electricians are campaigning to stop building bosses tearing up their national JIB agreement and cutting wages by up to 35 percent. Agencies are already recruiting the new grade of “installers” in preparation for the introduction of the new contracts.

Many of the workers protesting aren’t covered by the JIB agreement but are covered by the “blue book” national agreement instead.

One scaffolder said, “Our bosses are pushing through a pay freeze for us and pay cuts for the sparks.

“They are coming for us all, so we all have to fight back together.”


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