*Please note - 1200 from all trades downed tools at Ratcliffe in defence of our suspended steward last Tuesday - more news to follow as and when*
Unite Combine construction meeting – Holborn, London, 23/05/12:
"Present were the Unite Assistant Gen Sec, Unite National Officer for construction, Unite EC members for construction plus also Unite shop stewards and Unite Rank and File lay activists from all regions.
"The meeting started with a report back as regards the JIB pay talks, with both the ECA & Select refusing to accept one of the Unite sides, who happens to be a Unite Rank and File lay activist/branch secretary... who do these employers think they are?
"They came up with a cock and bull story about it not being acceptable to the JIB rules... Hello, what about JIB rule 17, direct employment? Looks like the collective anaesthesia kicks in regards this rule. Anyway Unite are sticking to their guns in the defence of this member of the Unite team and are not letting the employers dictate the Unite side. So the pay talks never took place, next meeting is Thursday 31st so watch this space.
"As an added note the HVAC pay talks are ongoing with an even bleaker outlook as regards pay and conditions for the ever decreasing workforce working under that National Agreement. Those employers like their JIB counterparts, although in the main they are the same employers, constantly forget about HVAC Rules 4i & ii concerning direct employment. What a coincidence.
"Unite have now launched a campaign for construction employers to “Play by the Rules”. All construction workers M&E, NAECI & civil need to visit the Unite website, www.unitetheunion.org to get involved in this campaign. It has got to come from the grassroots, the Rank and File, we have to get involved.
"Crown House are bang at it and have now left the electrical JIB. Led by HR director Jim Thomas, who just happens to be an ex- fulltime union officer, they got the client BAA to give them the green light to do this on possibly the biggest construction job in Britain at the moment, Heathrow’s £1.2billion Terminal 2.
"Can you keep up with all these surprises, I must admit I am struggling are you? This is the job where there is not one Unite shop steward on it, but the worm could be starting to turn after a large number of the M&E workforce turned up after work to attend a union meeting. Looks like BAA & Crown House didn’t give Unite permission to hold a meeting on site, what a disgrace!
"Here is another surprise for you - these clients & contractors are working hand in glove to shaft the workforce on this it seems. So Unite are now putting the pressure on Crown House/BAA at T2, with Crown House also falling foul of redundancy procedures elsewhere in the country.
"Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES) are also involved in the murky process of redundancy. They want to go with the redundancy arrangements drawn up with ex- fulltime Unite officer Brian Boyd, who I am now led to believe works for the employers' association Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ESA) which in old money was the Heating & Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA) who were behind the BESNA, which looks too much like B&ESA, you couldn’t make it up could you. Unite has told BBES the redundancy policy is not acceptable to them, and is there also victimisation of BESNA dispute activists taking place as well?
"The Unite Assistant General Secretary met with all the relevant employers associations - B&ESA (Blane Judd - remember him from the BESNA dispute?), ECA, Select, Association of Plumbing Heating Contractors (APHC) & Scottish & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation (SNIPEF) to discuss collective agreements or maybe even a single one, with employers indicating there needed to be a fresh start & that the BESNA was not good, we agree.
"A process needs to be worked out, with joint agreed terms of reference, independent chair etc. Unite will have expectations, with the combine expressing the view that there will be no de-skilling. Regarding the timeline for all of this, the employers’ associations will come back to Unite in June, events will need to move along quickly because every day that goes past is another day when a M&E/construction worker will be exploited, you all know the score.
"The Unite combine will possibly have to have a couple of days to discuss everything and also to have the full combine brought back to debate, discuss and vote on these events as they unfold.
"Under 'Any Other Business', the disgraceful issue was brought up regarding a Unite credentialled Health & Safety rep (electrician) at the Ratcliffe power station project (which is shadowing NAECI, what is that all about?) being suspended from the job for over 7 days & counting. His crime? For pointing out the errors of a worker's ways as the worker tried to stop a chop saw with his hand, the management accused the Unite H&S rep of bullying. Officially Unite are now intervening at the highest level on the job, but as you read this other events may well be occurring as I am led to believe."
Until next week keep on keeping on!
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