London, Blackfriars Station
6:30am and there was a threat of rain hanging over our heads. The crowd started gathering and by 7:00am the crowd had swelled to 300. Once again we were back to say hello to Balfour Beatty at Blackfriars Station.
At this time the contingent from Occupy London Stock Exchange turned up. During the week they had taken the time to make us a extremely large banner with the words 'Power To The Sparks' across it.
Harry Cowap gave a good speech informing us that T. Clarkes lads had elected 5 shop stewards this week and they would have 100% saturation of union membership by the end of the day. AND that T. Clarkes will be balloted alongside Balfour Beatty.
|The banner on the march to Cannon Street Pic: Socialist Worker|
Waiting for our arrival was the sound system and a few more faces from previous weeks. As we neared the site a couple sparks and a couple people from the Occupy London Stock Exchange rolled up the banner and walked onto site. Unchallenged they went past security and climbed the scaffolding on the front of the building. Whilst they were making their way through site we were blocking off Cannon Street out front, much to the annoyance of the police. They had obviously decided early on that they were going to act fast in an blocking of the roads and quite swiftly got very heavy handed in pushing us aside. One person was arrested for refusing to move off of the public highway but I have been informed that he was later released without charge.
This video was sent over to me anonymously.
There were more great tunes being played as well as some more speakers and other unions offering solidarity to the cause. A short while later a Grattes employee appeared on the roof with a hastily made sign saying 'NO JIB CUTS'. After waving to the crowd he disappeared back into site.
At the site gates a couple of the Rank and File stopped one of the site managers for a quick chat. They informed him of what was happening with regards to the contracts and pay cuts, his response was "I'd put the scumbags on £1 an hour if it was up to me."
This Wednesdays protest was going to be elsewhere but due to this dickheads comment we will be paying Grattes, Land securities and Cannon Street another visit instead.
Also the police have informed the union that if the London action continues, they will issue Section 14 Notices under the Public Order Act - which would effectively make any gathering illegal and allow for pickets to be arrested if they continued to protest after the Notice has been served.
So Wednesday 2nd November, 7am , 110 Cannon Street, Gratte Brothers. See you there
|Outside Blackfriars Station|
|Outside 110 Cannon Street with 'All Power To The Sparks' banner|
Newcastle Rank and File Report by Ray Smith
60 started the demonstration well before dawn. The site is off a main road.To get to it you have to go down a fairly narrow pathway just wide enough for traffic in one direction. The site is Kier and Balfours is the electrical contractor. At the start the site manager was very unhappy at us demonstrating on private land that we did not have permission to be on. He complained that we were causing a traffic jam on the main road outside the site. Nevertheless we stayed our ground to put our case to those going into work. 20 electricians walked from the site.
Then the police arrived but were fine especially when we had a talk with them about their terms and conditions being undermined especially by the employment of special constables who did the work on a voluntary basis. These police seemed to understand though they did not say so that they were facing the same attacks as every other private and public sector employee.
After an hour or so senior national mangers of Kier AND Balfours arrived. These people were not happy at being stopped by and then forced to drive through a very noisy demonstration but by the time they got onto the pathway into the site they couldn't turn round. After a while we saw them skulking around the site not looking too happy.
We all considered this was a very good demonstration especially as it was in a fairly isolated place, it buoyed people up quite a lot. Although We have still not seen ANY full time official from Unite at ANY of our demonstrations we will continue to invite them at our next demonstration planned for the very future. So we live in hope that we might see a North East full time official. Does anyone know why the North East regional office appears to refuse to its members any help, support or encouragement.
Manchester Rank and File, Courtesy of Hugh Caffrey and the Socialist Party website
|Some of the protesters blocking the road|
|Back up of traffic due to blocked site entrance|
Glasgow by Rank and File electrician
There was about 30 of us outside the gate. Wasn't a good turnout. I must say though, rather than aimlessly standing about everyone grabbed leaflets (numerous ones from unite, siteworker, socialist etc) and handed it to the guys heading in through the gate.
In addition we caught the night-shift coming out and leafleted them too. There were 2 police officers there the whole 1.5 hours we were there, not sure what they thought we were going to do. Think the policing is stepping up on this issue, the protest got a mention on Clyde 1 fm with the radio spelling out that "the union have stated this issue will affect all electricians and that means the ones on Glasgow Velodrome too!"