Saturday, 1 October 2011

Protests, Meetings and Some Interesting Rumours

This week we have had the lot. Protests, rumours, meetings and a change at the top of the JIB. There were protests in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. With two meetings in the North West, Liverpool on Thursday and Manchester on Saturday. Plus the change at the top of the JIB on Thursday.

The Rumour Mill

According to some sources it would appear that the protests and the background lobbying of clients by Unite are working.
From a reliable source, it seems that Baileys have lost out on a job up North because the client didn't want to be the first job run under the new agreement due to fears of strikes and a job over run.
Spie Matthew Hall have been asked to reconsider the new agreement by a client that they are currently tendering for in the North East. The client has made it clear that they don't agree with the new agreement and will not consider the tender until the situation has been resolved.
Another source in London says that Tommy Clarkes have been pulled in by a client and warned that they would not tolerate demonstrations outside any site baring their company livery which T.Clarkes are working on. They read from this that clients of the gang of seven are getting jittery as they don't want the bad press that would result from demonstrations outside their premises.

The Protests

First we have London, Kings Cross Station 6:30am. Massive Bailey Rail / NG Bailey job. We arrive at 6:30 and there was already a decent sized crowd there. We all gathered at the site entrance with some good music playing out once again from the large and the way the bloke took ages to catch up when we moved on, heavy amp. There was a considerably higher police presence this week after the success of the Farringdon Charge. So we blocked the site entrance and listed to a couple of rappers and a bloke with a drum. There were loads of Unite flags about and around 7 the crowd had swelled to around 400. There were speeches by Unite Construction  Officials, Alan Keys, John McDonnel MP and Mike Abbot, a veteran of the 1972 strike. We then marched down the road to the delivery gate. As we were approaching you could see the security guards run off and grab big chains and quickly lock the gates up before we could go and join them on site. A nice row of police appeared to protect the gate so we stayed there. In the road. For a good half an hour the road was blocked off. There were even more speeches and other Trade Unions cam to speak to show their solidarity, the RMT, Unison and PCS. It turned out that Baileys had told all of their blokes to not come in till 10:00am so to miss the protest. They were also told that if they are seen at the protest they would be disciplined. So around 7:40 we went on the march again, into Kings Cross Station. By this time the crowd had got bigger and my estimate would put it closer to 500. Once inside we pretty much took over the concourse, much to the bemusement of the commuters. Was good to see quite a few of them asking about whats going on and asking for leaflets. Some even stayed to listen to the speeches that followed.
First to step up was was UCATT General Secretary candidate, Mick Dooley. He gave once again a very good, crowd pleasing speech, also quoting from 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist' then finally Jerry Hicks came to the mic and finished off the morning with yet again another speech getting the crowd cheering. Thanks to ReelNews for producing this video of the protest.

At the same in Liverpool there was a protest outside the JMU, Spie Matthew Hall site. ALL of the Spie Matthew Hall sparks and fitters refused to go through the protest and stayed outside with them. Steve Benson, Unite Regional Officer made a speech to the protesters and the Spie lads. There were the just over 50 at the protest which is great for the first one. Things will only get bigger as word spreads around.

In Scotland there was a protest at the 2014 Commonwealth Games Site, Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. There were approximately 75 people present, making them selves heard to all the lads on site.

The Meetings

In Liverpool on Thursday night there was a meeting at Friends Meeting House. There were roughly 70 in attendance and they discussed future targets, publicity and whats next for Liverpool.

Saturday saw another meeting in Manchester at the Mechanics Institute. Over 100 people packed out the venue. The general consensus of the crowd was that waiting for a ballot was not the answer. Getting at them now with direct action is the only way forward. There was a committee elected of two Mancunians and two Liverpudlians. They will help organise the protests and pick out the best sites in the area to target. There were several speakers and the crowd were very confident in going forward.

Also today in Glasgow sparks and fitters joined  in with The People First rally which was attended by thousands of people from across Scotland.
 The JIB

Also this week there was some news from the JIB. Sir Michael Latham stepped down as Chairman of the JIB after 13 years in the position. His successor has been named as Paul Corby, former National Construction Officer of Amicus. Although the position of Chairman is to just chair the meeting between the two sides. It doesn't hurt to have someone on our side who is not scared to voice his opinion.

Dates For Your Diary


LONDON - Wed 5th October - 6:30am - Parkhouse, Oxford Street. Opposite Selfridges (turn left/west out of Bond Street Tube) T.Clarkes Job

GLASGOW - Wed 5th October - 6:30am - Cambuslang, Fire Training Project, Clydemill Industrial Estate



TEESIDE - Tue 6th October - 7:15pm - Belle Vue Social club, Kendle Road, Hartlepool, TS25 1QU. Guests from the Newcastle committee to give advice on how to take it forward


LONDON - Tue 11th October - 6:30PM - Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holburn. Bernard McAuley and others will be in attendance

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