There is (hopefully) a major development in our dispute.
Word is that Bernard McAulay [Unite national officer for the construction sector] is going to announce the balloting of Balfour Beatty Engineering Services [BBES] sites on Thursday [20 October] at the Unite officers’ meeting in Leeds. Possibly three or maybe give BBES sites will be balloted; we are not sure which ones.
Although this would be a very good development, the rank-and-file must not take our eye of the ball or let up in any way.
Rumour has it that Unite could ask us to suspend the demonstrations during the ballot, but this would be a massive mistake. We cannot and will not be calling off any protests. Rather than call off protests we need to ramp them up, and target all BBES sites across the country, big and small. They seem to have most of the work at the moment.
In London we are getting a team of people together to leaflet as many sites as we can in between protests to make everyone aware of what’s going on with deskilling, informing other trades as well. Please do the same in your areas.
If you need help producing leaflets, let us know. Also contact Unite for leaflets, but if they won’t supply them then do your own; a simple A5 leaflet will suffice.
NG Bailey [one of the other contractors threatening to withdraw from the collective agreement] have suddenly said they are up for taking things further by announcing consultation meetings with their workers and the threat of the sack if you don’t sign by end of November. This came out [on Thursday 13 October]; they quickly denied it but we think on this occasion there’s no smoke without fire!
Remember BBES are leading the assault on our agreement; let’s respond accordingly. Let’s take them on. Give it to them with both barrels. It was they that declared war, and sadly there will be casualties.
Support the protests, try and get big turn outs, ask for support from other trades, other unions, other trade unionists… even your mates in the pub and relatives. If we win everyone gains!
Come rain come shine: never cross a picket line!
• This article is a slightly edited version of an update sent to the Siteworker e-list