Saturday, October 24, 2009

Electric company "shocked and stunned" - :-)

BRITAIN'S electricity supply industry used to be state-owned, but then and since it was privatised, the companies seem to have carried on behaving as though they own the state. Now one of them has tripped, trying to use the anti-terrorism laws.

This piece of news reached me care of Bristol Unite union activist and socialist Jerry Hicks, though I'm particularly pleased because it concerns a brother from my own section of Unite, and what's more best known in the Manchester area where I hail from. Anyway, as Jerry says, introducing this item, "It's great to win one! and then maybe another?"

High Court defeat leaves Scottish & Southern Energy

‘Shocked and stunned’

The High Court yesterday (Wed 21st October) rejected an injunction against a building worker which had been brought against him under Terrorism legislation.

Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) had sought the injunction against Steve Acheson claiming his actions were a potential threat to the National Grid and national security. Even though he has never attempted to enter the power station, or disrupt generation, or block the entrance to the site since his unfair dismissal by contractors in December 2008.

Mr Acheson, an electrician is a Unite union member, who has been peacefully protesting against his dismissal and subsequent denial of a grievance process from the Fiddlers Ferry power station in Warrington,

The dispute at the power station started in December 2008, when Steve Acheson was dismissed from the project. Steve complained that he was deliberately being victimised because he was an active trade union member and began to picket the site to regain his job.

In March 2009, the Information Commissioner uncovered an illegal blacklist operating in the construction industry on behalf of 44 of the largest construction companies. After receiving his own file, documentary evidence now fully supports Steve Acheson's claim of deliberate blacklisting from the site. But rather than admitting their obvious guilt and re-employing Steve, SSE unsuccessfully tried to stifle his protest.

At the High Court on Wednesday a legal representative for SSE made a various vague references to Mr Acheson posing a danger to the National Grid! Stretching even the most vivid of imaginations

During his summary, Lord Justice Mann used somewhat dramatic language when he described the SSE legal case as "lacking any evidence at all" and as "fanciful bordering on paranoid". Lord Justice Mann when rejecting the injunction awarded full costs against SSE.

Jerry Hicks who along with many others was at the hearing to support Mr Acheson said. "This would be laughable if it was not so serious. SSE were totally humiliated, their case was ludicrous but it proves the lengths employers will go in their attacks on union members".

And argues that there should be a demand that all the contractors implicated in the blacklisting scandal should be banned themselves from tendering for any government contracts until they offer jobs to the 3000 constructions workers who have been blacklisted.

The very real threat are the big contractors who, by blacklisting trade unionists are ruining workers lives and those of their families. It should be the construction companies in court.

After his victory Steve told supporters: "I have been boosted by the support I have received from so many people. If this Injunction had gone through it would have had a devastating impact upon trade unions ability to organise This is a defeat for corporate bullies and a victory for peaceful protest. Tomorrow I will be back at Fiddlers Ferry, fighting the blacklist and fighting to get my job back"


For more background on this ongoing fight see:

My Unite branch,whose members came, like Steve Acheson, via the Electrical and Plumbing Industries Union(EPIU), has followed and supported the Manchester members in their fight against victimisation and blacklisting, and admired their determination and fortitude..But I'm sure we will not be alone in being thrilled and delighted with this setback for the employers, and wishing strength and success to Steve in his ongoing fight.

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At 4:27 PM, Blogger white rabbit said...

Electric company shocked and stunned in-deeeeeeeeeeed!

Like it! :D


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