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12May94 UK: FIGHTING FUND SUSPENSION ANGERS SHOP STEWARDS.

Collection of a weekly £5 fighting fund levy from engineering construction workers was suspended abruptly last week.The levy was intended to finance selective industrial action on targeted sites throughout the country, following a six-month pay talks deadlock between employers and engineering construction unions.The cash already collected will now remain frozen until a meeting is held on May 17 between employers and union officials on the National Engineering Construction Committee (NECC).But the suspension of the levy has angered some shop stewards who claim that neither they nor other union officials were consulted about the decision.A document circulated by a group of union activists known as the Combined Sites Liaison Committee attacked NECC secretary and leader of construction section of the AEEU, Tom MacLean, for calling off the £5 levy three days before the NECC was due to meet. Mr MacLean was not available to comment.But Paul Bevis, national officer of the electricians' section of the AEEU, rejected claims that Mr MacLean acted outside his remit. He said: 'The chairman and secretary have always had the authority to act on decisions between meetings.'The move has raised fears among some workers that union leaders will give ground to employers on issues such as 'last in - first out' redundancy selection, and tea-break entitlements to break the pay deadlock.One shop steward said: 'There's a feeling among the rank and file that the NECC are on the path to conceding something. We are now asking for a national stewards' conference as soon as possible after May 17.'Union officials have given assurances that shop stewards will be consulted before a decision is reached. CONSTRUCTION NEWS