Electricians:Biggest unofficial action in decades Sparks fly in London
Saturday, 17 December 2011 18:38

 Letter from the Joint Strike Committee

The electricians rank and file organized the biggest nationally coordinated unofficial strike seen in any industry for many years on December 7, thousands of workers were involved. There were protests and picket lines at a number of Balfour Beatty sites in Scotland, Grangemouth, Glasgow, Wales, Cardiff, Humberside, Manchester and Liverpool. In London there were running battles with the police.

The electricians who work for Balfour Beatty voted 81% in favour of industrial action and December 7 was supposed to be a national day of action in the electricians dispute. Shamefully the Unite leadership union capitulated and have decided to re-ballot after the threat of an injunction by Balfour Beatty. It was claimed by BB that 25 office workers (unite members) were not balloted. This small number would not have made any difference to the result. The result will not now be known until 6th January.

A picket of 500 workers at Blackfriars, in London, had the support of Bob Crow, John McDonnel Labour MP and members of Unite Executive Committee also spoke. In Scotland Camblasang fire station site offices were occupied, in Manchester there was a protest outside the town hall and protestors got into the council meeting and a labour councillor demanded that Laing O’Rourke and NG Bailey are removed from council projects as they are blacklisters (companies who refuse to employ known trade unionists).

“Labour MPs have agreed to meet rank and file committee members. The whole day was a brilliant success and was rounded off with a picket on Blackfriars nightshift no sparks worked there at all that day and there was support from scaffolders and cable pullers who refused to cross the picket lines.”

“The day’s event shows the enormous power and potential of the rank file n when they pull together. This dispute may go on for many months as the seven rogue employers dig their heels in. We must continue the weekly protests and maintain the numbers, and push Unite to make it an official strike in construction in the new year, whatever happens the rank n file have transformed the construction sector of unite in the last 4 months”.

“Fight the blacklist, expose any collusion by Unite to brush this under the carpet. There are 100s of blacklisted sparks experienced stewards who cannot get work in construction, Unite should challenge employers who are still blacklisting and site workers must demand and help these workers to get onto sites.” Joint Strike Committee letter.

Make no mistake if the sparks and pipefitters agreements are smashed other trades will be targeted next. The NAIECI (national) agreement is also under attack this is another area to be fought and organised by the rank and file JIB (Joint Industrial Board).

·  No cuts no changes to national agreements no sell outs!

·  Stand firm, educate, agitate, organise!

·  Victory to construction workers!

·  Join the pickets!

·  All unions should support these actions and demands!

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