Steve Acheson, blacklisted electrician from Manchester, was nearly arrested recently on his picket at Fiddler’s Ferry power station. Steve was dismissed in December 2009 and has held a peaceful picket outside the site ever since. His tribunal for unfair dismissal will not be heard until October this year.
Steve displays various banners highlighting the issue of blacklisting. None of them say anything derogatory about the company who dismissed him. Recently he was approached by four security guards and a police officer and told he should end his picket and take his banners down. Steve refused to do this, bearing in mind that he protests across the road from the site entrance. The security then took the banners down and, next thing, more security appeared with a video camera which was shoved into Steve’s face. He was told they were now using a video and filmed evidence may be used in court. The police officer told Steve he may be arrested if any assaults occurred.
He was told by police to hand over the banners and go away and not to come back again – his picket was pointless. Thankfully Steve was not arrested. He was calm and dignified, as he always is, and his banners were eventually taken by the security guards. It is plainly obvious that there is state involvement here and, if possible, the powers that be are determined to lock Steve up in prison. Hopefully they won’t follow this through.
Building workers Des Warren was locked up in the 1970s for picketing. Could Steve be the next Des Warren? We should prepare ourselves for this situation. In the meantime rank and file trade unionists must help Steve financially and with as much moral support as humanly possible. Steve has vowed to carry on the picket with new banners until justice is done and this blacklisting of construction workers is finally outlawed, with no help from New Labour by the way.
Messages of support please on Facebook and financial assistance phone 07949335390. There will be a demonstration next Tuesday 16th February at 7am outside Fiddler’s Ferry power station. Please come along and lend your support to Steve and justice.