Thursday, 17 November 2011

An escalating struggle on Teeside against the BESNA

Unite the Union rank and file members demonstrated on both Monday and Wednesday this week at Corus on Teeside against the Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA). Here are some more words from the frontline from electricians and siteworkers about their experiences, thoughts and feelings about this week, and the escalation of the dispute:

"Monday the 14th of November during another excellent demonstration by the north east rank and file at Corus steel in Redcar. 18 SPIE employees and 50 Balfour employees voted to withdraw their labour in support of the lads at the gate. With the rank and file present there was around 180 sparks across both gates.

Word soon spread to Conoco Philips in Seal Sands, Billington: 20 SPIE men who had cabined up in solidarity then voted to withdraw their labour, word spreading to other SPIE sites. 34 men then removed their workforce followed by 9 men at Sabic chemical site in Wilton, Redcar.

By mid-day Sabic in North Tees another 11 men walked off the site, the 4 lads at Dawsons yard in Middlesbrough walked prompting lads on small 2-man gas board local gas board jobs to walk. Although some of these numbers are small it is still 100 percent of the work force on each site. Maybe next time the Balfour and SPIE lads at Lindsey Oil will follow?"

"The two actions that we had at Corus on Monday and Wednesday of this week were hugely successful.

Our actions are spreading, becoming more generalised politically and, more importantly, involving different groups of workers and others in the trade union movement.

However the Wednesday action did show up weaknesses of organisation, a lack of real discussion between different workers subject to JIB and NAECI, shortcomings in advance planning of demonstrations and a lack of post action discussion.

We have come a long, long way from our first action at the RVI but as we get bigger and more effective weaknesses in organisational matters are beginning to show. Paradoxically this is good sign because it shows things are moving along at a speed that we are struggling to keep up with.

Just about everything we have done so far has been a success that we have achieved BY OURSELVES without ANY official union help, support or encouragement. It looks like this state of affairs will continue. We have to step up to the mark or we are lost."

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