At this solidarity demonstration with 24 pickets on trial, Myton Strike Committee thanks the tens of thousands of workers in many industries and professions and the hundreds of trade union branches which have backed us.
At this solidarity demonstration with 24 pickets on trial, Myton Strike Committee thanks the tens of thousands of workers in many industries and professions and the hundreds of trade union branches which have backed us. Without such unstinted moral and financial support we could never have maintained our struggle for 53 weeks.
Our dispute started in October 1966 because steel-fixers were sacked and 200 workers downed tools in support of them.
District secretaries of the bricklayers, woodworkers, plumbers, transport and constructional engineers' unions, and of the NFBTO London Region, originally supported us.
A regional disputes commission held in February to determine the fate of the six stewards failed to agree.
The subsequent National Disputes Commissions's decision to start work without the steel-fixers and six stewards was rejected by all workers on the site.
The Cameron Enquiry set up by Gunter after months of deliberation, reported in September. It rejected our views and accepted those of the employer (Myton). Cameron endorsed the decision of the National Disputes Commission and attacked the Building Workers' Joint Sites Committee and called for its destruction.
Cameron also recommended the appointment, in place of election of Federation Stewards on the Barbican and Sunley sites; the imposition of harsh discipline on works committees, as well as the permanent withdrawal of the credentials of stewards who breach the Working Rule Agreement. Already Turriff (Barbican), and Wimpey at Brunel site have used the opportunity provided by Cameron and have refused to recognise the Works Committee on these two sites.
Yet it is this report that NFBTO leaders have fully endorsed, going to the length of sending letters to all Myton workers urging them to go back to work, making feverish attempts to recruit new labour for Myton, and even inserting a joint advertisement with the employers in daily and evening papers to smash our struggle.
Not a word of protest has been uttered by NFBTO leaders against the brutal police attacks and arrests during our peaceful march. While they stop at nothing to help Myton, they make no move at Sunley's to help the men. Is this because Cameron recommended that all of Sunley's workers, including the stewards, should be reinstated?
In the course of the Myton and Sunley disputes the Woodworkers' E.C. have removed three London District Committee members and a General Council member from office, sacked the District Secretary (since reinstated), expelled three members from the union and penalised another.
A plumber has also been expelled by his union, while members of the AUBTW and Painters' Union are also under attack by their Executives.
Never, in the many site struggles against blacklisting, victimisation, transfers, during then ten break or 40 hour week struggles, have NFBTO leaders shown a fraction of the energy to back their members as they have done to help the employer in the Myton and Sunley disputes. Nor has there been any enquiry into the allegation made against Mills, Woodworkers' E.C. and NFBTO President, that he agreed at a secret meeting to support the sacking of Sunley Works Committee.
The Myton and Sunley disputes had to come. They ??? from the intolerable conditions, common to all sites- ??? pay battle over bonus, bad canteen, foul sanitary and welfare conditions, deaths and accidents on ??? ??? ???, ??? blacklist victimisation transfers contracting ??? surrounding ??? ??? ??? and threatening all our hard-own gains.
It is such conditions and the failure of our well-paid NFBTO leaders to fight for us and support us in out struggles that have given rise to Joint Stewards Committee. Where Union leaders do their job and back their members, such committees would go unnecessary.
Myton could have been beaten in a week if our union leaders had the guts to call out all Myton and Taylor Woodrow site. This would have curbed every employer and inspired every worker. Thousands would have joined the unions too.
The Myton Strike Committee on the basis of a majority decision by those still involved in our 53 week long struggle now feels that we have achieved all that is possible in view of the forces which have recently been ranged against us - i.e., the employers, NFBTO leaders, Cameron and the Ministry of Labour and police, and have now decided to lift the picket.
Such an unprecedented line-up cannot be defeated by continuation of the Myton picket, or by the struggle on one or a few sites. It can only be defeated by the conscious and united action of all workers throughout the building industry.
We urge on all who in future take up employment on Myton site to make the job 100% organised, to insist on their right to elect stewards of their choice and on the implementation of the beneficial bonus and other agreements which the victimised stewards had negotiated before they were sacked.
We call on building workers everywhere to build active 100% trade union organisation on every job, to elect stewards and works committee, to stand together in unity and solidarity against every attack by an employer and to carry the fight into branch meetings in order to replace right wing leaders and officials by militants who will stand up to the employers.
Every attempt to blacklist, victimise or transfer an active trade unionist must be fought. Working Rule 2B must be ended and the status quo should operate in all disputes pending reference to the disputes machinery. This would clip the employers' wings and their power to victimise.
The NFBTO and building unions should be forced to campaign for substantial increases and the nationalisation of the building industry, building materials and land, as decided by the 1951 NFBTO Conference, in order to break the power of the building bosses and allow our industry to be run for the needs of the workers and the people.
With you backing we have fought a 53 weeks battle. We shall not be driven from the industry or from our unions. The employers tried through "documents", imprisonment, fines and transportation to destroy trade unionism in its infancy. They failed then and they will more certainly fail now. A new determination for a better future, as shown at the TUC is growing. Building workers are part of the movement.
No Canute, employer or right wing leader, can hold it back. We will build a great united movement linking jobs and branches to win the long overdue better future for all building workers.
Long live the unity and solidarity of building and all workers.
Into action for real change and a better future.