Earlier this month, a serious health and safety issue arose at the Shetlands Gas Plant. The response of the workers was to take matters into their own hands by taking action to demand better conditions. Management accepted the workers demands, once again proving that militancy pays. We publish here a report from the action by a Socialist Appeal supporter.
Earlier this month, a serious issue arose of some workers at the Shetlands Gas Plant using non-certified lifting equipment. In addition, they are not legally allowed to use lifting equipment anyway. This was reported to the main contractor on the Shetland Gas Plant project, Petrofac.
Unfortunately they never got the message out to the workforce on the project that their safety fears were being addressed and that this issue would be stamped out across the project before a site worker was injured. As a result, between then and now, another two incidents of the same nature occurred.
As a result, on Monday 7th July, the workers on the site took their health and safety (H&S) concerns into their own hands and stopped production on the site from the start of the day shift at 7am, refusing to go to work due to their serious concerns about their safety on the project. By 9am hundreds of riggers, pipefitters, welders, platers, electricians, labourers, etc. were still sat in the main welfare facility until their concerns were properly addressed.
The site elected trade unions shops stewards; H&S reps met with senior site management and H&S, who agreed with the trade unions that the situation needed resolving, so the workers health and safety concerns were met.
After this meeting the trade union stewards convened a meeting in the welfare facility with hundreds of union construction workers in attendance. They heard the stewards and H&S reps outline what the company were going to do immediately with the health and safety issues. After this the union reps took questions from the floor and the workers decided that they were satisfied with the company’s response and decided to return to work just before noon, with the unions having got an agreement from the site management that the workers would not occur any loss of pay as a result of their health and safety action that morning.
The stewards thanked the workers for showing solidarity for achieving their aims for health and safety – not only for themselves, but also their fellow workers on site.