Electrical construction workers and other trade unionists staged an occupation of the lobby of the Office of Rail Regulation in Holborn, central London, on the morning of Friday 2 November, as sparks continued their battle against blacklisting and anti-union victimisation.
The Office of Rail Regulation oversees health and safety standards on railway sites, and only recently hosted a conference which applauded the role of union health and safety reps in the workplace. They are a publicly-funded regulator, and sparks were demanding that they take account for the outrageous anti-union victimisation of workers who have raised safety concerns on the Crossrail Westbourne Park site.
Following a lively and noisy protest outside the ORR - which featured large banners, union flags, and music - workers occupied the office lobby and resolved not to move until ORR directors had agreed to meet a delegation from the protest, including victimised Unite shop steward Frank Morris.
This was eventually achieved, and Frank and other activists were able to meet with the ORR. Although some of the workers in the building grumbled about the "inconvenience" caused by the protest, many said that they were union members themselves and expressed support for the action.
A national meeting of the sparks' rank-and-file committee takes place in Manchester on Saturday 3 November, where the campaign will discuss its next steps.
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