Rank and file electricians and their supporters blocked Oxford Street in central London during rush hour this evening, Wednesday.
They held a flash mob protest over the sacking and what they believe is blacklisting of workers on the Crossrail construction project.
Some 28 Unite union members working at the Westbourne Park Crossrail site were sacked earlier this month. Two other Unite reps have also been removed from the site.
There have been daily pickets there and tonight was the second protest against another site on the project.
At the Tottenham Court Road site entrance management had built a formidable barricade to keep protesters out. Unfortunately for contractors, who managed to block some of their own vehicles in the site, the protest was headed for another entrance.
On Oxford Street workers unveiled large banners reading, “Blacklisting ruins lives” and “Stop the victimisation of workers, end the blacklist”.
The BFK consortium is the main contractor on the site. Its security seemed a little keen on becoming traffic cops and, unable to order workers around, tried moving traffic without success.
Taxis turned around, buses emptied and traffic backed up through central London.
One 4x4 seemed particularly keen to get somewhere. It was driven by a Saville Row tailor who was worried an emergency suit might not get to a toff.
The good natured protest politely reassured the driver that the suit could wait a little longer to be delivered.
There is growing anger over the Crossrail project. It is far from fully unionised and does not recognise construction workers’ national agreement.
One electrician told Socialist Worker, “It is a huge project and we are going to make sure that it is unionised and has no place for blacklisting.”
Another pointed out, “We took on the big firms and beat them when they tried to tear up the national agreement. We will take on them again here.”
Rank and file electricians are appealing for donations. Make cheques payable to “Joint Sites Committee” and send to 70 Darnay Rise, Chelmsford CM1 4XA