Thursday 1 January 2009

George Galloway backs wildcat strikes

from Socialist Unity [UK blog] 30 January 2009 Galloway: ‘It’s about decent jobs, available to all’ Reacting to news of wildcat walkouts from construction sites across Britain, Respect MP George Galloway says: “Despite attempts to confuse and misreport, the fundamental issue that’s led thousands of construction workers to defy the anti-union laws and walk off the job is simple: decent jobs, open for all to apply for. “These walkouts come after years of the construction conglomerates trying to weaken union organisation, divide up workforces and introduce super-exploitation across the industry. “Union activists have told me of unofficial blacklists operating, made all the more widespread by a culture of subcontracting to cut-throat companies. “We used to have a nationally-owned energy sector, which provided secure and relatively good jobs as well directly employing building workers and entering long term contracts with construction companies. “Now we’ve got privatisation, chaos and a race to the bottom where employers across Europe are attempting to drive down pay and conditions. “That’s why the defence of national agreements is so important. It is the only way whereby working people can raise up conditions in the worst companies to those where unions are better organised and have won a fairer share. “So those little Englanders or downright racists who claim they are supporting the construction workers’ walkouts are doing no such thing, because they oppose the very trade union strength that makes a national rate for the job possible. “The Unite union – including the TGWU, which I’ve been a member of for over 30 years – has always stood against scapegoating and discrimination. And it’s stood against the exploitation of foreign workers as a means to lowering pay and conditions here. “The union has been calling for national agreements to prevent undercutting, and for jobs to be open to all construction workers, without blacklisting or discrimination. “That’s got my support. If Gordon Brown really wanted to help construction workers he would rigorously enforce the highest employment standards instead of playing to the right wing gallery with slogans about British jobs, for British workers.”

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