The mainstream local press are keeping a very low profile on this week’s local ongoing strike action at Cammell Laird . More significantly the ‘Independent’ Labour MP in who’s constituency the shipyard has been a significant source of employment has been conspicuous by his silence.
As we reported in our The ‘Casualisation’ of Cammell Laird story which followed a leak from Wirral South Constituency Labour Party (CLP) meeting which was asked to support the now striking workers “Turning the Tide on Casualisation ” campaign :
You’d think that the “Turning the tide on Casualisation” campaign would be right up neighbouring MP Frank Field’s street wouldn’t you? And indeed as part of Field’s relentless media presence he has obviously made sure that Cammell Laird gets a mention. A recent press release can be found on his blog here
However whilst securing shipbuilding orders are indeed one way of securing jobs at Cammell Laird you will note that the main thrust of the Unions campaign is the possible use of non-Unionised(?), cheaper labour accessed via an agency thereby undermining local workers rights ,pay and conditions and the potential cause of future redundancies. Once again you would think this would be meat and potatoes for Field. We’d certainly expect him to be raising questions about who’s behind this mysterious agency – we certainly have and the information we’ve has opened up some interesting lines of enquiry.
Perhaps it could be both impolitic and impolite for Field to mention such matters when Cammell Laird is a major contributor (along with Wirral Council taxpayers) to Frank Field’s pet project ‘Feeding Birkenhead’ ?
Subsequently it was left to Dan Carden , MP for Liverpool Walton to raise the matter in the House of Commons
Meanwhile on the same day the MP for Birkenhead was raising this important matter :
Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many
applications he has received from local authorities for funding to
implement their Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan; and how
many of those applications were (a) successful and received the funding
in full and (b) unsuccessful.
No wonder Labour List reports :
The solidarity and support from local Labour Party members has been exemplary. It was particularly moving to watch the enormous support from local activists and Labour members as the workers walked out for the first time on Friday. Delegates to Labour’s North West Regional conference raised £250 towards the fighting fund, and Unite members at BAE donated £3,000. The latter sends a significant message of worker solidarity to the two employers, since it is BAE that has a teaming agreement to build the aforementioned Royal Navy ships with Cammell Laird.
The workers have received support from many Labour MPs, with Justin Madders and Dan Carden raising the issue in the chamber and visiting the picket line. As for the local MP for Birkenhead, Frank Field – he is nowhere to be seen. Long thought to have been in cahoots with Cammell Laird management in opposition to workers taking action at the site, Field has come under fire from local supporters for ‘regurgitating’ the company line.