Construction Rank & File ‘Combined strength’? Time will tell.

‘Combined’ strength? Time will tell. 
A report of the first combine meeting from a Rank and File delegate.
The following is a report from a Rank and File attendee at the combine meeting 5th April Unite’s Holborn office London:

“The meeting was attended by Unite shop stewards, Unite unemployed members, Unite blacklisted members, all Rank and File mechanical & electrical workers in construction who want to bring to the table the anger and disgust on how in the 21st century construction workers are treated right across Britain.

Also present were Unite Assistant General Sec Gail Cartmail, whose remit covers construction, along with construction National Officer Bernard McAulay and also the 2 Unite Executive Council construction members.

The Assist Gen Sec started the meeting saying that the employers & their associations still had not met with Unite as they had promised, due you could say to possible power struggles & disarray within their organisations, which are sending out different messages.

It seems some are even saying now that Besna is a failed model, we could have told them that last August. It looks like a new date of 30th April has now been set for informal talks with the bosses, with the Unite officers reporting back to the Unite combine shortly after maybe 2 weeks at the latest.

There then commenced a serious debate about a Unite meeting the previous Monday in Leeds at the request of the National Officer for the pay claims for the JIB (electrical) and the HVACR, with a lot of the attendees unaware that a joint M&E meeting was taking place, with also a lot of Unite Rank and File members not there due to being unaware that the meeting was taking place!

The Assistant Gen. Sec. diplomatically said that we needed to break for a cup of tea, where she needed to speak to the National Officer about the Leeds meeting, reassuring our meeting that we would come back to this very important issue.
After a break Tony Burke, another Unite AGS, spoke about how a new national agreement for the print and paper sector was born out of the old agreements, Unite shop stewards and the employer associations were chaired by an independent Professor who dealt in industrial relations.

It took over a year to get a new agreement which then went out to the Unite membership in the sector for their approval, with agency workers getting the same rates of pay, etc. Is this a possible way forward for the Unite membership in construction?

The construction Unite AGS, then returned the thorny issue of the Leeds meeting on the 2nd April, after her talk with the national officer and said it shouldn’t have happened, the oversight of not having all the Rank and File combine activists invited and re-assured the meeting that in the future the Rank and File combine committee would be invited.

A strong debate then took place on whether to now elect from our meeting a Unite electrical Rank and File member to liaise between this combine committee meeting and the JIB pay claim, it was agreed we should, with then JIB electrician Steve Achesion being proposed, seconded and elected to be that link. It was then also agreed that the JIB and HVACR pay claims should be sent out to all the combine members.
As the meeting due to a close, the Unite officials gave a commitment to have an answer from the Unite legal department regarding claims from numerous JIB electricians that the JIB National Working Rules are in fact a legally binding agreement. We eagerly await the answer, watch this space.

The weekly protests continue in London and areas around the country.
In London it’s at the shard ‘The great agency rip off’ which must be stopped. Next protest is the 18th April, the Shard at 6.45am. 
From Jerry Hicks: Calling on ‘Blacklisted Construction Workers’ in the Bristol/West Country area.
Great news, after discussion with BBC West News they are very interested in doing an interview with Jerry and any blacklisted construction workers from the Bristol / Bath / Swindon area. Note/ The BBC have guaranteed complete confidence if necessary.
If that applies to you or you know any blacklisted workers from that region – please get in touch ASAP Contact Jerry on 07817827912  or email
Also do any of you know and have contact details for: Chris Carrington or Brian Babij
In the Dock with a ‘Progressive Pipey’ 
Hundreds of agency workers, such as sparks, plumbers, pipe-fitters, welders etc, who normally work in construction, but due to a lack of construction work, find themselves working on the new aircraft carriers and the Oman ships in Pompey Dockyard, are know living on a knifes’ edge.
These workers are not just from the Portsmouth and Southampton areas, but also from the North-East, the North-West, Scotland and Wales, two of the main aircraft carrier module sections will both be gone from Portsmouth to be taken to Scotland by the middle of May 2012, with Oman 1 ship also leaving Pompey by the end of May and Oman 2 not long after that.
With BAE having about a 500 direct labour force in the Dockyard, among them being sparks, pipe-workers, welders etc, some of them even normally working in construction, but jumped in there to escape the lack of work in the construction sector.
The writing does seem on the wall for the Dockyard agency workers, who have got to look forward to a basic hourly rate wage freeze offer from employers in NAECI and the post Besna HVACR & JIB mechanical and JIB electrical issues that are still rumbling on and could explode at any time. In saying that though things could be dodgy for the direct labour force, with it seems no more ships in the pipeline to be built in Pompey Dockyard and rumours of closure.
“Get unionised, get organised and fight back.”
For more info please visit….. Electricians Against The World http ://www . jibelectrician . blogspot . com/
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