Thursday, 8 March 2012

What An Unbelievable Four Weeks

Firstly, I would like to apologise for the lack of updates for the last four weeks. Normality will now be resumed (much to the annoyance of the missus).

What an unbelievable four weeks. It all started off with Balfour Beatty employees voting 67% in favour of strike action at the beginning of Feb.
Balfour Beatty then challenged this in the High Court. After hearing both side of the argument, Mr Justice Eady reserved the decision until the following week. (Wed 8th Feb)
So we carried on with our protests across the country.
The US Teamsters Union send a letter to  Balfour Beatty stating their support for Unite and the M&E Workers being forced to sign new contracts. They also warn Balfours that if there is not an acceptable outcome to the dispute then they will have to act (Thur 9th Feb)

 On Wed 15th Feb, the US Teamsters held a demonstration outside a Balfour Beatty office in NEW YORK.

On Wed 15th in London, we converged on the Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane.
Another great protest with some nice acts of civil disobedience thrown in. Reel News were there to film the events of the evening

The following day, (Thur 16th Feb) Mr Justice Eady gave the verdict of the Balfour Beatty injunction.
He ruled in favour of Unite the Union. The Verdict can be viewed HERE
Which meant that Balfour Beatty employees are allowed to legally strike. This would have seen the closure of Oil Refineries, Power Stations and many other major projects across the country.
On Friday 17th February, Balfour Beatty requested a meeting with Unite. They then released a joint statement with Balfour Beatty withdrawing from BESNA and Unite stopping strike action and protests against Balfour Beatty.
Two down, 6 to go.
This sent shock waves through the construction press and through the other six companies.
All attention then turned onto the NG Baileys. Saturday 18th Feb was announced as Morrisons day. There were protests at Morrisons stores across the whole of the UK as they use NG Baileys for all of the maintenance and install. There were around 20 protests nationwide.
On Monday 20th, around 60 M&E Workers went to the Morrisons Head office. They blocked the entrance to the office causing traffic jams for miles and lots of angry management trying to get in to work to give Mr Bailey a call.
Thursday 23rd Feb, NG Bailey announce that they are to follow Balfour Beatty and withdraw from BESNA.
Friday 24th Feb, the HVCA announce that it is to scrap BESNA and the companies therefore withdrew the threat of dismissal on their employees.
Unite and the companies agreed to enter talks to modernise the JIB and the whole industry. Later this month there will be six Rank & File members and six Unite Shop Stewards elected to represent us in these talks. This time we will be able to argue and fight our corner from inside the negotiations with full transparency. 

 Now we are back up to speed. Last night there was a meeting in London at Conway Hall
Short report from Steve Kelly

"A report of the London RnF meeting 150 were present we had speakers from Australian ETU Dean Mighel, Mick Dooley, and Jerry Hicks.
There was a very buoyant mood and we discussed the way forward now after the seven companies withdrawal from BESNA.

The following document was discussed and agreed as a basis for any future talks on a new agreement it was voted on and unanimously agreed to use this document once combine has been elected later this month, it can be added to if you so wish. Items one to five should be NON NEGOTIABLE.

1) Rule 17 of the JIB to be adhered to in its entirety
2) An increase in the hourly rate
3) No deskilling in any shape or form
4) Proper apprenticeships
5) An end to blacklisting and no body to be victimised who has been involved in the dispute so far

6) Increase in fares and lodging allowance
7) Sick pay scheme
8) Fares from home for all
9) One hourly rate across the board
10) 35 hour basic working week
11) Full training for stewards and safety reps with paid time off

12) Elected reps on all large projects , no appointed stooge convenors
13) Decent redundancy pay
14) Decent pension scheme
15) Employment rights from day one
16) Government license for electricians

17) Government investigation into corruption in construction and an end to bogus self employment
18) JIB employment pool
19) TU education open to all
20) RnF elected members who are unemployed to be taken on by unite and assist in a recruitment campaign

Regular reporting back from any talks must happen, and eventually a ballot must be carried out for all unite members irrespective of being on a JIB company or not. It was also voted on and agreed unanimously to start weekly protests on large sites in London demanding direct employment. The first protest being at the shard London bridge on 14th march 7am .Other areas might want to consider doing the same in their areas. 
Yours in solidarity Steve Kelly"

The first protest for direct employment/against agency abuse, will be at THE SHARD. MACE are the main contractor who constantly turn a blind eye to the flouting of laws and agreements by its contractors.
Wednesday 14th March 6:45am, The Shard


8pm till 3am

Confirmed DJs so far:

BOSON & DJ THOUGHT (official Mike Posner dubstep remixes)
KMT (fabric, Glastonbury, Passing Clouds, Favela Chic, Shunt)
Dave Smith: (Park Lane, Blackfriars, Kings Cross, Farringdon, Oxford St) 



  1. all of these points seem attainable and well thought out

  2. I as a retired electrician who as been helping out on the protest am happy that BESNA as been withdrawn. But we must be vigilant after years of the old guard giving the bosses every thing they have wanted.They will be looking for another way of getting the job done with semi- skilled labour.
    It's good that there will be some rank &file members on the negotiations to make sure no shady deal is done.
    In the past these excuse for union officials have given away so much of our conditions etc. that we will now have to start all over again trying to get back what as been lost.

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  4. I want to give a big "high five" to all you guys who gave up time, money and effort to defeat this awful 'BESNA' beast.
    As the fight continues I hope we can see the rediculous "shop rate" and 15ml expenses rules abolished.