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Construction Workers demonstrate for legal and fair working conditions at Olympic site

Listening to Bob Crow RMT Gen Secretary: .Listening to Bob Crow RMT Gen Secretary: .Photo © Martin Slavin

Local construction workers were joined by others from the TOTAL Lindsey oil refinery (LOR), near Immingham port in Lincolnshire, together with workers from other major construction sites across the country, in a mass demonstration outside the main entrance to the Olympic site early on Wednesday May 6th. Coaches had brought them from BP's Dimlington refinery next to LOR, and sites in Aberdeen, Teeside, Yorkshire, Penryn, Pembrokeshire, Cardiff and Kent.


Councillor Abjol Miah, head of the Respect group on Tower Hamlets Council, addressed the protestors; “The Olympics ought to be an opportunity for people in Tower Hamlets and Newham to get training in construction through apprenticeships and through employment on the site.

And yet Tower Hamlets residents now count for only two percent of employment on the Olympics site. Even that is exaggerated as the figures do not distinguish between long-term residents in the borough and those only living here whilst they are working on the site. And the number of apprenticeships and in particular the number of apprenticeships going to Tower Hamlets residents is pitiful. This has got to change.

I’m very concerned about the gagging contracts being imposed by the ODA on contractors and employees which potentially prevent workers from whistle-blowing when health and safety issues arise. We have already had asbestos scares and as deadlines on contracts approach the pressure will inevitably grow for corners to be cut. We have to have strong union organisation and whistle-blowing protection to ensure health and safety is not jeopardised.

Let’s be clear what this protest is all about. It’s not about discriminating against so-called foreign workers. My kids were born in Tower Hamlets within the sound of Bow Bells, which makes them cockneys, but my parents were ‘foreigners’ once. What this is about is getting a fair deal for people locally and for workers more generally. And that’s the campaign I, with my colleagues, will be pursuing with Tower Hamlets council, one of the five host boroughs for the Olympics.”

From: Socialist Unity

Keith Gibson, GMB militant from LOR,  speaking outside the Olympic construction site: Photo shows R to L: Bob Crow, Gen. Sec. RMT, Keith Gibson GMB LOR and Abjol Miah, Tower Hamlets Respect councillor. Photo © Martin SlavinKeith Gibson, GMB militant from LOR, speaking outside the Olympic construction site: Photo shows R to L: Bob Crow, Gen. Sec. RMT, Keith Gibson GMB LOR and Abjol Miah, Tower Hamlets Respect councillor. Photo © Martin Slavin

Keith Gibson said; "Trade Unions need to increase efforts to unionise foreign workers like at Grain and Staythorpe which have exposed subcontractors paying wages and conditions outside the national agreement. Ideally we want, with construction trade unions on the continent, to force a Europe wide agreement that stops this wage cutting 'race to the bottom' "

From: the Socialist

Illegal blacklisting of construction workers standing up for their rights, was recently confirmed in a raid by the Information Commissioners Office. This showed that Laing O'Rourke, a member of the CLM consortium that won the contract to become the 'Delivery Partner' which oversees all the Olympic construction contracts, was paying Ian Kerr, an ex Police Special Branch officer who ran a discreet company 'Consulting Association', for sensitive personal information used to 'vet' potential employees.

It should also be remembered that the construction industry has not long ago been the focus of the largest investigation into fraud and corruption ever undertaken by the Office of Fair Trading.

See also:Why aren't semi automatic hitches banned on the Olympic site ?


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