Construction is one of the last industries left in the UK with a strong, well-organised rank-and-file presence, and construction workers have been responsible for some of the most impressive workplace victories in this country in recent years. Today saw another lesson of the power of rank-and-file direct action: last Friday, a worker on the Crossrail project was sacked after raising health and safety concerns on the site – a site where another worker, Rene Tkacik, lost their life recently. This morning, construction workers brought Oxford Street to a standstill, and within an hour of their protest starting, the sacked worker had been reinstated.
Anti-blacklist protestors are this morning celebrating after a worker sacked on Friday for raising safety concerns on the Crossrail project has been reinstated.
Members of the Blacklist Support Group were demonstrating in Oxford Street when they heard the Unite rep is to get his job back.
A spokesperson told USi News: “The reputation of the rank and file is getting better and better. Rather than face another year-long dispute, the company has settled within minutes of our protest starting.”
When he started work last Monday, the Unite member was told he had work for three years if he wanted it. But on Friday he was told there was no more work for him.
He said: “On Wednesday, I registered my concerns about some trestle boards we had to carry materials over. They weren’t fixed down and were over a gap a meter high. If you fell off or put your foot into a gap in the board, you’d break your ankle, fall on your face, whatever.
“I suggested they build a temporary bridge over them, but that would cost them time and money which is why, I guess, they didn’t bother.
“I’m ecstatic now I’ve got my job back. Hopefully it’ll set a precedent to let Crossrail know everyone deserves to work in a safe place. At the moment there’s a climate of fear there. Most people are employed by an agency and be moved at any time. Hopefully this will stop that.”
The Unite member, who does not want to be named, has been informed he is on full pay while the union sorts out the details of his employment. He was sub-contracted to work for VGC.
The Reel News collective have also produced this video about the case: