Unite, the construction union, has vowed to tackle and stamp out attempts by contractor NG Bailey to union bust on the Mensa project at the Aldermaston Weapons establishment, in Berkshire.

Workplace issues

Problems began on the project late on Friday 17 September, when five workers, including four members of Unite, one of whom was a health and safety representative, were informed that they had to leave the site immediately. No reason for this removal has been provided.

There then followed a walkout of the workforce on Monday 20 September in support of the affected workers.

Lack of information

Following the intervention of Unite, the five affected workers were transferred to other projects. NG Bailey, however, has refused to provide the reasons for the removal of the workers and has blamed the principal contractor Costain and the client AWE for that decision.

There remains a great deal of unrest among the Unite membership on the project.

Unite demands

In order to ensure that such similar problems are avoided in the future, Unite is demanding:

  • An agreement on a procedure for dealing with similar situations where workers are made aware of the charges against them and can answer them
  • An apology from the project team to the five affected workers, a proper investigation and re-instatement onto the project
  • A guarantee that removal of security passes on this project does not prevent future employment through blacklisting by the client or contractor
  • Full compensation for the loss of earnings of those taking part in action to defend their work colleagues

Both NG Bailey and Costain are proven blacklisters.

Ending union busting

Unite regional officer Malcolm Bonnett said:“Unite is committed to stamping out this clear attempt at union busting on the AWE project.

 “Enormous credit must be given to the workforce for standing up for their fellow workers, which has forced the employer to ensure that the affected workers were given alternative employment.

“It is simply unjust that workers have been removed from the project without warning or a reason given, this must not be allowed to ever re-occur.

 “If NG Bailey do not agree to Unite’s demands then there is set to be further discontent on the project and a collapse in morale, which will affect productivity.”


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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.