Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Blacklist & Our Part in its downfall: Colin Trousdale's perspective

To whom it may concern:

Following on from my recent protestations about the need to organise the Media City project, it is with some regret that I have to report that myself, Graham Bowker and Gary Littler are currently on enforced paid leave following an attempt by management to dismiss us on Friday 22nd under false redundancy . This follows a series of meetings with management where the three of us have raised Health & Safety issues and the fact that the New Year pay rise has not been implemented and our refusal to work Saturdays for single time. There are seven of us working for an agency alongside seven full-timers (not cards in) none of which are in the union , two of the agency lads are non union and have no desire to join despite my best efforts so if we formed a shop it would comprise of only five lads in a workforce of fourteen . However as I have previously stated the full site has 300-350 men who are traditionally UNITE members amongst a workforce of 1800. These men are completely unorganised and most are lapsed members due to the abolition of the check off . There is a full-time UCATT convenor on site who is trying to help our lads on an almost daily basis. I recently advised him on three cases:

  1. an apprentice plumber (member) being paid over £3 p/hr below the rate for his age and qualifications.
  2. a group of cards in sparks (lapsed members who feel UNITE has done nothing to sign them back up after check off ) accused of falsifying their time sheets although management fill their sheets for them and just give them to the lads to sign? 
  3. a sub-contractor paying well below the rate for sparks . It is his opinion (and one which I share) that we should be organising the workforce putting stewards & safety reps in place with all the sub-contractors and having a convenor splitting his time between working for one of the main M&E contractors and co-ordinating the efforts of the stewards & sorting out industrial relations problems amongst the subbies. 

The trend on site at the moment amongst the M&E companies is to see who can get agency labour the cheapest with no thought for National Agreements or ratios of skilled to unskilled labour. I myself am approached on a daily basis to advise on some problem or another - something that has not gone unnoticed by management- and on Friday 15th, January 2010, I was called to a meeting with our project manager at which he said he had been made aware of the alleged BLACKLIST. My reply was that we now had irrefutable proof of it, and although this meeting was minuted he is refusing to give me a copy of the minutes but has sent them to head office and my agency. I feel this meeting was the catalyst that led to the attempt to remove the three of us from site . If we do not organise this site soon we will not be the only three victims of this witch hunt . WE MUST DEFEND OUR MEMBERS & AGREEMENTS. YOU MUST ASSIST IN THIS. This could be another D.A.F. or Manchester Royal Infirmary brewing.

Yours in Unity, Colin