Leeds City Council aids undermining NAECI construction agreement as Skelton Grange HZI Energy to Waste plant

Around 100 angry construction workers and their supporters marched on the Hitachi Zosen Inova site at Skelton Grange in South Leeds where a new energy to waste plant is being built with work being done outside the NAECI national construction agreement terms.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

GMB and Unite unions organised the march with strong pledges made from union officers speaking that this would be the start of a much bigger campaign to defend the NAECI agreement, something which construction companies have attempted to undermine repeatedly over the last decade, repulsed by the strong rank and file organisation amongst construction workers. Important support from the protest came from the Scunthorpe scaffolders engaged in their own dispute with subcontractor Actavo who are refusing to pay NAECI rates at that site.

This was despite the road to the site having had a gate put on it by private security company hired to keep the protest out. A sign on the gate claimed this was because of repair work on a bridge on the road, but there was no evidence of this. The sign also “requested” people use “alternative pedestrian access” – which given the gate, didn’t go all the way to the fence at the side of the road, then workers simply marched around it and to the gate of the site 500m or so up the road!

By far the most disgraceful element involved, is the decision of Labour-led Leeds City Council to grant planning permission for the site, despite an agreement with Unite and GMB to only grant permission to projects under NAECI terms. Discussions were taking place on the protest about suspending funding locally to Labour from Unite and GMB ahead of the upcoming council local elections in May.

As well as being present on this and future protests, Socialist Party members will be raising this issue and the role of Leeds City Council in trade union branches over the coming weeks.

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