Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Latest Rank and File Update

‘They came for us and we fought back’  Rank and File end of year round up.....
What an incredible 4 months of Rank and File activity we have had, it must be the best action of any group of workers in last 10 years, and its gone worldwide.
The fun and fightback began on 13th August in London at Conway Hall one hot summers day when 500 sparks filled the hall to the rafters and the atmosphere was electric. The meeting discussed the issues that faced us and made its own decisions. A national committee was ELECTED by those present, no appointments or stitch ups that day.
From there 2 of the newly ELECTED committee went to Leeds on 17th august for Unite shop stewards meeting which was full of appointed UNELECTED unite officers, apart from 4 or 5 elected stewards and activists. We urged that a campaign be started immediately.
Bernard ‘moving forward’ McAulay told us it would best to wait until January or February 2012 before we should start a campaign and get our army together. He was backed up by the appointed FTO’s.
Later that same evening at the London construction branch 250 sparks held the meeting in the street in the rain (the hall was too small). An army was easily formed and the 1st protest was voted on to take place the following Wednesday at Blackfriars.
Since then on every Wednesday we have protested in London at various sites some 18 weeks at the last count.
The action soon spread to other parts of the UK and Rank and File committees have been formed in Wales, Scotland, Manchester/Liverpool, Newcastle, London, and hopefully soon to be in Sheffield and Birmingham early in New year.
We have had loads of meetings and some brilliant protests with some great stuff on youtube and JIB electrician has a fantastic facebook/blog site all keeping each other in touch and organised against BESNA.
Unfortunately Unite often failed to match up to the Rank and File, the worst being losing their bottle over the ballot challenge by BBES and despite getting a massive ‘YES vote’ for action are re-balloting. Disappointing as that is, it’s not a problem as Rank and File will take action anyway, as we’ve been doing since August and we aren’t going to stop now.
Protests continued this week in England, Scotland and Wales, and on Friday night 50 protesters occupied network rail offices in London for an hour eventually moved out by pc plod.
On Saturday in Scotland a number of sparks occupied the BBC asking ‘why the media blackout was going on’ Here's the link to the BBC occupation report.http://union-news.co.uk/2011/12/update-sparks-occupy-bbc-building-protest-over-media-coverage/
In the January Scottish sparks are planning, to return all new BBES contracts unopened to BB head office en-mass.
So what of the ACAS meeting last Thursday [15th December], where one of our top rank and file members was present with Unite officials. At the meeting there was no backsliding by Unite, but to our horror Brian Boyd who up until recently was a Unite official and who left the union with £100,000, was representing the employers HVCA.
Unusual you might think? If only!
Amicus and now Unite seems to be a great training ground for this sort of thing some top turncoats in recent years were, Frank Westerman, Jim Simms, Jim Thomas, Paul Corby, Les Bayliss [who left with £250,000 of members money]. They all swapped sides, no wonder so many of us are f**********g blacklisted! So, ex Union officials get the top jobs and we are stopped from getting jobs!!!!
Meanwhile back at the struggle.....................With nothing coming from ACAS it means that in New Year its business as usual............:Demo’s, protest picket lines and occupations must continue ‘one out all out’! 

Some dates to focus on are..............
21st December 6.30pm London construction branch meeting. Conway Hall, Holborn. With a well deserved pint or 2 after in the Dolphin pub after.
January 4th, when the Rank and File committee [from across the regions] are meeting Unite GS Len Mcluskey.
Also on the 4th January 06.45am, there will be a protest in London at a Grattes site in Victoria Howick Place, behind House of Fraser Store. NGB site also close by.
January 6th, when we should have the re- ballot result for BBES [NGB Spie Matthew Hall being balloted next].
January 9th looks the most likely date for the next ‘big day of action’ details to follow soon.

Going Global! We said our dispute has gone worldwide but even so we were amazed to be contacted by Australian Electrical Trade Union [AETU]. A few weeks ago one of their officials happened to be in England and spoke at the London Rank and File meeting [3rd Dec].
They have now agreed to donate a large sum to our fighting fund and they have also invited for 2 rank and File members to go to Australia in New Year to speak at site meetings. [They will pay for flights and accommodation] any takers? Please let us know. A massive thanks to them and their generosity and offer to support us where possible.
We also have had donations in recent weeks from groups and individuals across the UK thank you all very much. We have a bank account and a treasurer ensuring that donation go towards the cost of hiring Halls, producing siteworker magazine, for the travel  expenses helping to get Rank and File members to meeting far and wide, postage cost and leaflets are paid out from the fund.
So if you need help with expenses please contact us.

There are some ‘thank you’s’ to be dished out, you have all made a difference the workers in construction, sparks ,plumbers pipe fitters welders, brickys, carpenters, painters, SWP, SP, Socialist Appeal, Counterfire, Morning star, Newsline, Reel News, Occupy movement, Trades Councils. Many other trade unions, countless trade union members, Justice for Pickets, JIB  facebook, MP’s John Mcdonnell and Jeremy Corbyn. And not for getting Unite the union. Hope we’ve not missed anyone, if we have, sorry.

An important Statement by the Rank and File..................
At the ACAS meeting on 15th December the employers’ team included 2 individuals representing HVCA that we believe is completely unacceptable [and a deliberate pi** take].
One was Brian Boyd now employed by HVCA and pushing through BESNA. He is a former Unite/Amicus senior full time officer with responsibilities in the construction sector and for British Airways, his pockets are full of our money and he has a knowledge of thousand of Unite members. We should definitely not be sitting down with him.
The other is Stephen Quant, he used to work for Skanska, who were the biggest subscriber to Ian Kerr’s Blacklisting organisation. He may have been Ian Kerr’s right hand man at some point.
Never mind talking about BESNA, why are Unite sitting in the same building as Boyd and Quant, its a disgrace. We demand that Unite has no further talks with HVCA if these 2 wretches are present. 

For details of demos protests and meetings near you please visit...............
Get in touch with us by Email siteworkers@virginmedia.com let us know of any planned protests in you have in the coming weeks 
Lastly, we wish you all the best for xmas and New Year see you all soon.
Keep on keeping on and long live the rank and file.
The workers united will never be defeated!!

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