Workers in the construction industry look to be gearing up for some serious opposition to the latest insult thrown at them by the employers. A new Rank and File coalition has been formed to oppose new contracts imposed by the employers with the connivance of full-time union officials. They are looking for help in distributing newsletters and bulletins on building sites.
Major construction firm Laing O'Rourke has recently imposed a new Contract of Employment on all its site workers, meaning large pay cuts for many and everyone having to rely on the employers' 'discretionary bonus'. Disgracefully, but not surprisingly, these attacks were fully supported by the full-time officials of the three major building industry unions - UCATT, TGWU and GMB. This treachery, coupled with the sudden imposition of the new contract ensured that where resistance did occur it was fragmented and unsuccessful.
Other employers, seeing that Laing O'Rourke appears to have gotten away with it, are now following suit. Rank and File activists in the construction industry believe that it's not too late for workers to begin real, organised resistance to these attacks, as long as it occurs at a grassroots level.
A meeting took place on 14th June in London to coordinate the fightback, and there has been considerable interest from individual workers as well as the national Rank and File Building Worker Group and union branches such as the GMB SOLO branch and Northampton UCATT.
This new Rank and File coalition is looking to spread resistance to the new contracts nationally whilst also fighting for improvements in wages, working hours, sick pay, pensions and the constant deaths and injuries caused by so-called 'site accidents'.
As well as looking to link up with building workers they are asking for support f rom other sympathisers who can hand out newsletters and bulletins on their local building sites and so spread the message wider without the fear of being sacked or blacklisted. Solidarity Federation locals will be among those participating in this organising drive. In a national climate where none of the TUC-affiliated unions is democratic and none truly stands up for its members this type of grassroots initiative needs to be both supported and replicated in other industries. Get in touch and get involved. Contact the Building Worker Group on 07767615354