Construction workers scored a big win against contractors operating on the Crossrail transport project in central London, after a sacked worker was reinstated within hours of a demo at Crossrail's Oxford Street site.
The worker, who began work on Monday 9 February, raised concerns over safety standards on the site. Despite being told he would have work for three years, he was summarily sacked on Friday 13 February.
A demonstration organised by the Blacklist Support Group (which was instrumental to winning the reinstatement of electrician Frank Morris, sacked from another Crossrail site in 2012, also for raising safety concerns) secured reinstatement.
A Blacklist Support Group activist told online labour movement news portal USI Live, "The reputation of the rank and file is getting better and better. Rather than face another year-long dispute, the company has settled within minutes of our protest starting."
The sacked worker said: “On Wednesday, I registered my concerns about some trestle boards we had to carry materials over. They weren’t fixed down and were over a gap a meter high. If you fell off or put your foot into a gap in the board, you’d break your ankle, fall on your face, whatever.
“I suggested they build a temporary bridge over them, but that would cost them time and money which is why, I guess, they didn’t bother.
“I’m ecstatic now I’ve got my job back. Hopefully it’ll set a precedent to let Crossrail know everyone deserves to work in a safe place. At the moment there’s a climate of fear there. Most people are employed by an agency and be moved at any time. Hopefully this will stop that.”
The Blacklist Support Group is currently supporting workers in taking a case to the High Court about the widespread practise of construction industry employers blacklisting workers who raised safety concerns or organised for workers' rights on construction sites. For more information, see the BSG Facebook page here.