ON 12TH APRIL, TWO EVENTS were held in London in the construction sector. In the morning both Unite (including recently merged UCATT members) and GMB held a protest outside the Danish embassy in Knightsbridge over the exploitation of Croatian workers on sites in Rotherham, and Sandwich in Kent.
A petition was delivered to the embassy demanding the Danish government investigates two Danish companies – Babcock and Wilcox Volund, and Burmeister and Wain. The latter, a Scandanavian main contractor, refuses to have unions on their sites. Croatian workers are being employed on a minimum wage of í7.20 per hour. The collective union agreement is í16.97p per hour plus a bonus of í2.37p. Both Unite and GMB await a response from the embassy.
In a separate event on the same day a silent vigil was held outside Westminster Magistrates Court organised by London Hazards Centre and the Construction Safety Campaign, and supported by Families against Corporate killing (FACK).
Three construction companies working on the publicly funded Cross Rail project - Bam Nuttall, Ferrival Agroman Ltd and Kier - are being prosecuted in relation to the death of Rene Tka'cik who was killed on 7th March 2014. Other charges relate to the serious injuries of Terrence Hughes and Alex Vizitu, both injured on 22nd January 2015. Purple ribbons were worn by campaigners to mark International Workers Memorial Day to be held on 28th April.
A press release was issued in support for the family of Rene from FACK: “No one we loved died from too much regulation and enforcement, but from too little. We believe everyone should be able to go to work and come home safely every day as the law requires. No employer should be able to flout the law and put anyone at risk. Our hearts go out to Rene’s family and we hope they get justice, and that employers stop harming workers”.
The court case continues at Southwark Crown Court on 10th May. For further information contact London Hazards centre at email@example.com or phone 0207 527 5107.