Monday, 11 November 2013

Blacklist Demo at Alder Hey

THIS morning (Saturday 9th Nov), 60 activists demonstrated outside Alder Hey Hospital construction project in Liverpool in protest at the continued blacklisting of union activists and the denial of union facilities on the project. The demonstration was called by the Blacklist Support Group at the anti-union attitude being adopted by the main contractor on the site Laing O'Rourke (LOR) and its wholly owned electrical subsidiary Crown House. The company has refused to negotiate with construction unions over rates of pay or safety and has even denied union officials access onto site to speak to workers. The construction unions UNITE, UCATT and GMB all had members on the protest.

The protest came only a day after the announcement of the death of a construction worker on the Laing O'Rourke Francis Crick medical research centre project in Kings Cross.

Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail said: "This fatality is a tragedy and our condolences go out to the bereaved family and friends.
'This is a harsh reminder of the importance of high standards of health & safety in an industry that is extremely dangerous. Trade unions have a role to play in maintaining safe working environments but Laing O'Rourke has bizarrely banned Unite officials from their sites. There is no place for anti-trade union behaviour in an industry where we should be working together in the interests of safety. We urge Laing O'Rourke and its subsidiary Crown House to give Unite access to the sites to support workers and help make improvements where necessary.' 
LAING O'Rourke is one of the eight major contractors who are defendants in the High Court on November 29th for their role in the blacklisting conspiracy in a claim being brought by Guney Clark and Ryan solicitors and are one of the firms that last month announced a scheme to compensate blacklisted workers. Blacklist Support Group walked out of the first negotiations with representatives of the blacklist compensation scheme describing the proposals as a 'publicity stunt'.
On the TUC Day of Action on Blacklisting on November 20th, the Blacklist Support Group has announced that it will be targeting another Laing O'Rourke site, the Cheesegrater in Leadenhall Street in the City of London (possibly the most recognisable building under construction in the UK today). 
Steve Acheson - blacklisted electrician & chair of the Blacklist Support Group said:
'Laing O'Rourke may pretend they have turned over a new leaf by their involvement in the compensation scheme but they show their true colours every day by their anti-union actions on building sites across the UK. They appear to be pathologically predisposed to victimise worker prepared to stand up for basic rights such as safe conditions or wages.
Laing O'Rourke, Crown House and the other blacklisting firms have attempted to destroy our working lives and genuine trade unionism in the building industry.   Until blacklisted workers are able to gain long term employment on major projects, everything else is just window dressing and we will continue to hound these wretches.'
Roy Bentham - blacklisted joiner from Liverpool & spokesperson from the Blacklist Support Group said:
'Our message is simple. Our message is clear.
Full compensation which reflects the human rights violations and suffering of blacklisted workers.
Employment for those workers on major contracts for which they've been previously excluded.
And lastly a full independent inquiry into this whole tawdry scandal with no stones left unturned whatsoever.'  
Blacklist Support Group

The current printed issue of NORTHERN VOICES No.14, is now available for sale at all our usual outlets in the North of England and beyond - see below. This issue N.V.14 has a Tameside Eye story about how Tameside has a history of involvement in blacklisting, it also contains an interview by Barry Woodling with George Tapp - the Salford electrician injured in May on an anti-blacklist picket. The Voices has been in the forthfront of the campaign against the blacklist since 2003 and the DAF dispute at Manchester Piccadilly, its editor, an electrician, was on the blacklist of the Economic League in the 1960s, and there was an attempt to blacklist him while he was working in Gibraltar in both 1964 and 1967, but at the time this intervention by the Foreign Office was resisted by the Gibraltarian authorities, and the Gibraltar Transport & General Workers Union.
Postal subscription: £5 for the next two issues (post included). Cheques made payable to 'Northern Voices' should be sent c/o 52, Todmorden Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH.
Tel.: 0161 793 5122.

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