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Redcar Jobs Protest 18th April

Thursday, April 16, 2015

GMB Redcar Protest On Saturday 18th April Over Exclusion Of Local Workers From Teesside Waste To Energy Construction Site

SITA has discriminated against local workers giving them no chance to get up to three quarters of the 400 jobs on the site at the construction phase of the project says GMB.

GMB members will be attending a public demonstration to be held at Redcar on Saturday 18th April from 10.00a.m organized by the Teesside Construction Committee.

The protest is over the discrimination against the employment of local workers on the construction of a new purpose-built energy-from-waste facility at Wilton, Redcar for SITA for Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority. There have been previous demonstrations at the site on this organized by the Teesside Construction Committee.

The details of the demonstration are as follows:

Assemble at 10am Saturday 18th April

from the Majuba car park

Majuba Road

Redcar

Teesside TS10 5BJ

The demonstration will make its way along the promenade alongside the coast then back along the High Street to congregate next to the Clocktower for a mass meeting.

SITA SEMBCORP UK, a consortium led by SITA UK, was selected as preferred bidder for a resource recovery contract worth £1.18 billion over 30 years with the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority. The other consortium members are Sembcorp Utilities UK and I-Environment, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Itochu Corporation.

The contract is to manage over 430,000 tonnes of residual household waste each year from Merseyside and Halton. Total capital investment for the facilities will be around £250 million. Both key facilities are expected to be operational by 2016. In total, 75 permanent new jobs will be created by the contract with hundreds more temporary jobs during the construction of the two new facilities. The new energy-from-waste facility will generate electricity for the equivalent of 63,000 homes.

Michael Blench, GMB Regional officer said “The demonstration is over the construction of the Wilton 11 Project on Wilton International site where local worker have been unable to secure work on the projects.

SITA is not playing fair by the Teesside workforce. SITA has discriminated against them by giving them no chance to get up to three quarters of the 400 jobs on the site at the construction phase of the job.

The project is being built predominately using European labour that are being used as cheap labour and are undermining the current national agreement for the engineering and construction industry. They are being paid £4 per hour below the agreed rates for engineering construction workers.

This protest is not against European labour working in this country but unscrupulous employers who insist on undercutting existing terms and conditions.

Normally these projects bring great benefit to the surrounding communities while under construction because of the local spending back in to community and the jobs it would normally create.

There are concerns over more fundamental problems about Europe that we have to face up to. Whatever the European vision was on integration, harmony, economic advancement and political stability, what we currently have isn’t it.

The free movement of labour and the single market were to be balanced by the social charter where all the people of Europe would live in freedom and with those in the poorer economies, benefitting from the harmonisation of standards across all member states. There were to be standards on workers protection, TUPE, excessive hours, health & safety, information and consultation and so many others were meant to keep labour exploitation in check.

That dream has been chipped away at for years. Right wing governments and employer have engineered massive change in the direction of the EU vision. Judgements in the European Courts like Viking and Laval were the green light to massive assaults on organised labour across Europe, but especially in the UK.

 From Lindsey Oil refinery to food production we have seen workers recruited in certain member states by agencies and exploited. They were shipped in “literally” in order to undermine the terms and conditions of existing workers on those contracts. Both sets of workers have been let down by UK Government, the EU Commission and the European Court.

On exploitation – don’t blame the exploited; damn those who exploit. This has been repeated up and down the country over recent years.

Look past the simplistic tag and face the challenge of exploitation. Let’s reach out to those migrant workers not attack them, but organise and protect them.

Too many workers go to work fearful about exercising their basic rights. A new Labour Government working with the EU has to create a workplace without fear and equip the trade unions to enforce it.  The challenge for Labour in government is to deal with exploitation and harassment of workers which it has ignored for too long. See notes to editors for Labour election manifesto pledges. "

End

Contact: Michael Blench 07870 176 748 or Phil Whitehurst 07968 338810 or GMB 0191 233 3930 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Notes to editors

Labour 2015 election manifesto pledges

The most exploitative working practices often take place in sectors that employ a high proportion of migrant workers. In some cases migrant workers are being paid below the minimum wage and being asked to have money deducted from their salaries for travel and accommodation – making them cheaper to employ than other workers. We need fair rules at work in order to reduce demand for low skilled migration.

Labour will stop agencies from being able to recruit exclusively from abroad and make it a criminal offence to undercut wages by exploiting migrant workers. We will work in Europe to ensure the rules on the posting of workers from abroad that prevent jobs and conditions being undermined at home are effective.

The main industry body for the recruitment industry has warned that rogue ‘intermediary’ organisations have increased over the past three years and are undercutting the rest of the sector. Labour will make it illegal to use agency workers to undercut wages, by closing the loopholes in the Agency Workers Regulations that mean workers who are paid between assignments are excluded from the protections of the regulations. And we will crack down on rogue recruitment agencies exploiting their workers to undermine wages and conditions, including the option of a licensing system that ensures agencies are complying with basic standards or stopped from operating, and extend the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority where there is evidence of abuse.

 

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