Manchester Airport Rank and File demonstration postponed
Last week, the North West Construction Rank and File called for a demonstration at Manchester Airport in response to the disgusting way that 70 sparks and fitters were treated by JCK Limited at the outset of the Covid-19 lockdown and the lack of care given by the client and its share holders.
The Principal Contractor, Vanderlande, closed the Manchester T2 Transformation Project site due to safety concerns over Covid-19 at the end of March and with that, JCK decided to lay off everyone without any notice or support.
At the beginning of May, Unite the Union released a statement which can be read here LINK.
After pressure from the National Construction Rank and File, Unite the Union, the Australian ETU and with the issue also featuring on ITV Granada (video below), Manchester Airport yesterday (Wednesday 3rd June) contacted Unite and asked for a meeting to discuss the situation and work out a way forward.
Whilst the Rank and File welcome this development, we must stress that IF there is not a satisfactory outcome from the meeting then the demonstration will be back on.
Frank Morris, National Construction Rank and File member and Unite the Union Executive Council member for Construction said “It has been well known for a while that the Vanderlande site was rife with bullying and precarious employment. Everyone involved in this comes out in a bad light, not just JCK for their attitude and treatment of workers but also Manchester Airport and the Manchester Councils that have acted appallingly with their its nothing to do with us attitude."
Since the project started in 2019, it has gained a name for itself locally as a site where bullying, intimidation and rule by fear are acceptable and the norm. Workers are rarely employed via PAYE with full terms and conditions but engaged through various forms of precarious employment and agencies. One worker was sacked before the lockdown for raising Health and Safety concerns over site practices and Covid-19. A few days later the site was shut by Vanderlande for that very reason.
The most worrying part of this is that nearly 65% of MAG are owned by the ten metropolitan borough councils of Greater Manchester, which are all controlled by the Labour Party with a Labour Mayor. So far, the majority of the group have been unsupportive.
The ten councils who make up the group are;