Monday, 14 November 2011

In their own words: Electricians shut down Corus at Teeside this morning

The words of electricians on the demonstration at Corus on Teeside this morning:
"We have has a great day, 200 sparks and their supporters blocked both entrances to the Corus Steel works, over 50 Balfour Beatty sparks walked, some of them refusing to cross our picket, the lads were tooting horns as they turned their cars round, this was just one gate, the 200 sparks split to cover both entrances and there was more success, the traffic was tailed back some 2 miles with the average wait to enter the site for those not involved in the dispute of 1and a half hours. The lads employed by Mathew Hall did not cross either The police became so frustrated at this that they arrested one of our number; X was later released without charge. We will be back on Wednesday for some more and this time we want 300 plus on the gate."

And another voice with longer thoughts:

"We had 200 demonstrators at Corus steel today. This really was a magnificent turnout. All the sparks either walked off the job or didn't turn up for work.

There were HUNDREDS of cars waiting on the very busy dual carriageway approach roads to the steelworks while we talked to people going in to work.

X, one of our demonstrators, was arrested for obstructing traffic. Immediately we formed ranks on the main road and blocked the traffic. We demanded to know from the police inspector why X had been lifted. He promised X would be released in half an hour without charge. We therefore left the road and sure enough X was released without charge.

All of these demonstrations the rank & file have organised are slowly reinforcing the lessons of trade unionism – stick together and fight the employer, the employer is the enemy. These lessons learnt over many years of struggle were lessons that employers, New Labour and full time officials had hoped were lost for good.

BUT, to emphasise that these basic lessons are not lost we have heard that lads at Ratcliffe walked out in support of SPIE and Balfours walkouts at Corus.

This fight to protect national agreements IS WINNABLE if we stick together and focus on and target the employer. Some may not like this to be said but the full time officials will not help us. In fact they will sabotage us at the slightest chance. We have to continue OUR demonstrations that WE the rank and file organise. It is these rank and file demonstrations that forced the full time officials to organise a national ballot and the demonstration in London last Wednesday. Without us, the rank and file, taking unofficial action we would probably be on £10 an hour or been sacked.

If the employers can get away with abolishing the JIB agreements then they will do the same with all other national agreements such as NAECI. Therefore THIS Wednesday we plan to go back to Corus to support the NAECI agreements and to tell the employers to back off from abolishing NAECI or else.

So be there for another dawn Corus this Wednesday at 6:30 am"

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