Organisers of protest outside Ratcliffe power station (pictured) estimate as many as 800 workers joined an unofficial walk-out in support of suspended Unite rep


Organisers of a protest outside Ratcliffe on Soar power station (pictured) estimate that as many as 800 workers at the site joined an unofficial walk-out yesterday in support of a suspended Unite health and safety rep, Jason Poulter.

All those working for the construction giant SPIE walked out; the GMB shop held a site meeting and decided to walk out in solidarity.

The largest single group of workers to join the walkout were with Doosan Babcocks. 350 walked out following a site meeting.

Rank and file activists who leafleted carloads of workers as they arrived – creating a tail-back more than 400 metres long – stressed they were not picketing the site, but encouraged all workers at Ratcliffe to hold site meetings and make their own decisions about whether to support Jason Poulter.

He was suspended six weeks ago over allegations of bullying – but supporters say he is being victimised for his role in previous disputes at the station.

Welcoming support from the hundreds of fellow workers at the giant coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire, Jason Poulter told UnionNews : “The full site is in support of what we’re doing.

“I was speaking to some of the guys last night and they were all saying – ‘without our reps, there’s no union’.”

Supporters travelled from across England to take part in the protest.

Malcolm Bonnett (pictured), Unite regional organiser in the south-east was among them.  He has been a visible and vocal presence on many sparks protests in London since the anti-BESNA campaign began last summer.

He told UnionNews: “It’s not right and proper in this day and age that a young lad is being victimised, suspended, a good health and safety rep.

“Unitetheunion needs to get behind these good people, otherwise we won’t have the ability to organise in the workplaces any more.

“They are the key, the foundation for our organising.

“There is a blacklist in this industry and it’s just breaking that blacklist – because good people like this will be on  that blacklist if we don’t support them.”

Jason Poulter said last night that he had still received nothing in writing from his employers about whether they would lift the suspension.

“All I’ve had is hearsay.

“They say they’ll drop the charges if I agree to being transferred. But if I did that, it would be admitting that I’ve done something wrong.

“And I’ve not done anything wrong, so that’s something I would never do.”

You can watch our film report, including an exclusive interview with Jason Poulter here:

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