Unite the union has taken its fight to end union busting to the doorstep of the French company Bouygues, whose offices are based in Paris. Bouygues is a French construction company which together with J Murphy and Sons has been shortlisted for a contract to build the multimillion-pound Lower Thames crossing.
In addition to Bouygues, the union is targeting other French-based companies including Plastic Omnium, Equans, and Colas. The dispute came about because of the dismissal of four union members including a union representative employed by J Murphy and Sons Ltd, a subsidiary of Murphy International Ltd.
The workers had been undertaking work at a site in the Republic of Ireland when they were dismissed after organising a meeting of fifteen workers to discuss the non-payment of travel and subsistence payments.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Murphy’s behaviour…is deplorable, and it is guilty of flagrant union busting. No reputable company should have anything to do with Murphy’s considering the manner in which it treats its workers.”
The protests are just a sample of a number that Unite has been holding across the country and internationally to apply further pressure on the company to re-instate the workers. As Murphy’s was still failing to act, the protests and ensuing disruption to clients and contractors associated with the company has further intensified, with several more protests at the British Ports Association conference and gala dinner on 18 and 19 October.