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25 June 2021

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Rank and file sparks at the Amazon construction site at Follingsby Park, Gateshead, protesting on the day before they achieved victory by being reinstated.

Rank and file sparks at the Amazon construction site at Follingsby Park, Gateshead, protesting on the day before they achieved victory by being reinstated.   (Click to enlarge)

Gateshead: Sacked electricians reinstated

A victory for rank and file sparks at the Amazon construction site at Follingsby Park, Gateshead, alongside victories such as the fightback against the use of ESOs (Electrical Service Operatives) at Hinkley Point nuclear power plant, has clearly boosted the idea that if you fight you can win!

Around 40 electricians had downed tools and walked off site because of the reckless practice by electrical contractor SIS Systems of using unskilled labourers to do the work of skilled electricians.

Rather than speaking to the workers to ensure the job was safe, the unscrupulous bosses sacked the workers for highlighting safety issues. For the hapless contractors at SIS Systems their profits came before safety.

Amazon has bragged that around 1,300 workers will be employed at the Gateshead warehouse. Those workers deserve a safe environment to work in.

The whole matter of who takes responsibility for the sackings, safety, etc, is a tangled web. As someone commented: "The issue is the client has appointed a contractor, who has appointed a sub-contractor, who uses an agency, who has an umbrella company!"

Rather than being cowed by the sackings, the rank and file sparks acted courageously, and often with humour.

The police turned up at the protest, clearly to ensure the interests of the bosses were upheld. The protest outside the plant was successively blocking deliveries and challenging those crossing the picket line. The police told them they couldn't stand in front of the entrance to the site - so they defiantly began to walk back and forth across the entrance.

The sparks expressed gratitude to the Socialist Party for supporting them throughout their struggle, and were impressed with how the NSSN (National Shop Stewards Network) got their protest to a wider audience.

Elaine Brunskill

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Related links:

Gateshead:

triangleGateshead: Sacked electricians reinstated

triangleProtesting in Enfield, London, in support of electricians sacked by contractor SIS Systems at Amazon's warehouse under construction at Follingsby Park, Gateshead. 21.6.21

triangleLocked down, hard up - Fight back!

triangleAdding demands to the weekly claps

triangleGateshead FC crisis: save our Heed!

Electricians:

triangleStop press: Sparks walk out

triangleSparks win victory!

triangleReading, 26.5.21: Standing with the #Sparks blockading #AWE in the fight against de-skilling #No2ESO. NG Bailey & Balfour Beatty must pull away from their deskilling agenda!

triangleReading, 26.5.21: Standing with the #Sparks blockading #AWE in the fight against de-skilling #No2ESO. NG Bailey & Balfour Beatty must pull away from their deskilling agenda!

Workers:

triangleReinstate Gary Evans! Llanelli postal workers strike

triangleUniversity workers ballot for strike action

triangleFight to defend homelessness services

Protest:

triangleBiggest protest yet to save Stratford Circus

triangleArms fair: Hundreds of protesters defy police 'dispersal zone'

Amazon:

triangleFilm review: Nomadland

Article dated 25 June 2021

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