Unite has sent a message of solidarity to 1,200 United Steelworkers (USW) members who have been locked out of their jobs in Massachusetts by an US-based division of the UK’s National Grid.
During last week’s Unite policy conference, delegates unanimously voted in favour of an emergency motion condemning National Grid’s attempt to strong-arm USW gas workers, who are in dispute with the firm over its attempts to slash pension and healthcare coverage.
Unite national officer for energy Peter McIntosh noted that National Grid is a common employer of USW and Unite members.
He said, “Unite fully supports the USW members in their efforts to obtain a fair contract with National Grid, a UK-based utility company.
“We recognise that the skill and experience they bring to the job is crucial in providing essential public services. USW members are on the front lines in responding to emergency calls, repairing gas leaks and maintaining vital infrastructure
“It’s time for National Grid to bargain in good faith and recognise the value that USW members bring to the job each and every day. It’s imperative that the health and safety of National Grid employees and the general public not be compromised.
“USW members should be allowed to work whilst discussions take place with the company.”
The utility workers were locked out of their jobs by National Grid on June 25 following a breakdown in the negotiations.
The emergency motion stated, “Unite calls on National Grid to immediately end the lockout and return the highly-skilled USW members to their jobs while negotiations for a fair contract continue. The company must stop all efforts to intimidate union members and drive down living and safety standards.
“Unite will present this demand to the management of National Grid in the United Kingdom and work with the USW on solidarity actions, including a presence at the company’s Annual General Meeting in the United Kingdom on July 30th.”