LONDON - ATTN: News, Construction and Business Correspondents
Unite the union will be bringing together activists and union officials from across the construction industry for a national summit to fight for the right to work and to be paid properly.
Following the latest wave of unofficial action in the construction sector, senior union activists are calling for a national strategy to address the root causes of industrial unrest. The key to resolving the current problems lie with the union shop stewards, not with extremist political parties trying to hijack the agenda without offering any solutions.
Les Bayliss, Unite assistant general secretary, said:
“Union activists hold the key to resolving the serious problems in the construction industry. We are not opposed and never have been opposed to workers from outside the UK working on UK construction projects. However, Unite we will not accept employers turning worker against worker to undermine wages, terms and condition, health and safety and skill levels. These are all rights that trade unionists have fought long and hard for, while ultra right wing groups did nothing but stoke hatred in our towns and cities. They offer no solutions.”
The union will also be putting the role of energy providers on the top of the agenda. Unite believes the energy companies have a responsibility to ensure its contractors treat UK workers fairly. Recent waves of unofficial action and demonstrations have been taking place at construction sites belonging to the energy providers. But the workers’ anger and frustration because of exclusion and regular breeches of the national agreement, has so far been focused on the contractors employed by the energy companies.
Unite believes it is now time for the energy providers to take responsibility for the contractors and sub-contractors and insist that the contractors give UK workers fair access to work and that the national agreement is honoured.
Unite’s assistant general secretary, Les Bayliss added:
“It’s time to turn our attention to one of the root causes of the unrest in construction. The energy providers choose the contractors and they must take responsibility when the contractors break the national agreement or exclude UK construction workers from construction projects.
“Power companies will be charging us for electricity and gas and making a lot of money. It is unacceptable that they should allow contractors to exclude UK workers from building UK power stations.”
Source: Unite the Union