Gateshead: Sacked electricians 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)
Elaine Brunskill, South Tyne and Wear Socialist Party
There has been 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 Electrical Service Operatives (ESOs) at Hinkley Point nuclear power plant, this 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, 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, and so on, is a tangled web. One worker 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 National Shop Stewards Network got their protest to a wider audience.
Donate to the Socialist Party
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.
In The Socialist 30 June 2021:
What we think
NHS after 3 July protests Trade unions must organise serious action
Fight to save our NHS
Royal London Hospital
Fight the health and care bill
Keep private hands off NHS patient data
We don't want a USA-style healthcare system
Post-pandemic railway battles loom
East Mids train guards strike
Stop the Channel 4 sell-off!
Hopeless Hancock replaced
Millionaires multiply during pandemic
Dalian Atkinson - police found guilty of killing ex-footballer
Biden police reform
Can Biden reform the police?
Socialist candidate wins NIPSA general secretary election
Gateshead: Sacked electricians reinstated
Support Gary Clark for CWU executive
Support Sharon Graham for Unite general secretary
End bullying and victimisation at Oaks Park school
Unite members step up action against bullying Mungo's managers
Sandwell Leisure workers: No to 'fire and rehire'
The Israeli working class
German Greens: The image and reality
Protesters halt Nadia's eviction
Brighton: Moulsecoomb strike against academisation
York residents demand land for local community needs
Young Socialists march in London
Pride is a campaign, not a business opportunity
TV Review: GB News
The Socialist 30 June 2021 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook