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23Aug91 UK: SURVEY SHOWS SITE WORKERS ARE FINDING UNIONS A BIG YAWN.

Unions are facing an uphill struggle to win over disenchanted building workers.A Construction News survey shows site workers have lost faith in all unions - whether UCATT, EETPU or the TGWU.Leadership battles in UCATT and efforts to recruit new members by the EETPU are looked upon as a big yawn by Britain's builders.Self-employed plasterer Alan summed up the feelings of many workers.He said: 'They are all the same. They come on site screaming and shouting about workers' rights then you never see them again.'I've got no time for jumped-up union officials. They have never done anything for me and I couldn't give a toss about any of them.'The massive Ludgate site in London has been the focal point of the union poaching war in recent weeks.But Construction News discovered a widespread mood of apathy towards the unions' struggle.Ganger Jay Simms said: 'I've heard what both sides have got to say, but it's the same old promises they've been making for years.'I've never been on a job where a convenor has been voted in by the men themselves. The contractors just appoint people to keep everyone sweet.'My UCATT membership lapsed seven years ago, and I've seen nothing since then to persuade me to renew it.'Foreman Alan Knowles said: 'All these unions are doing is cutting their own throats.'I don't think anyone's interested in the whole business really. If I have a problem I go and see my governor, the unions have never done anything for me.'Most workers we spoke to believe unions do little or nothing to help on site.Heating engineer Paul said: 'I'm disillusioned by the whole thing. A proper union should do something about safety, pay and conditions - but they are all just as bad as years ago.'New Zealander Lance Alhem said unions were stronger in his country.He said: 'It doesn't seem something that the lads bother about over here. No-one really talks about unions on site.'Self-employed plasterer Mark Keeley, from Kent, said: 'I'm like a lot of people, I just want to get on and do a day's work and get paid for it.'I've got no time for any of this union business, but if they promised to do something to help the self-employed then I'd probably listen to what they had to say.'The row in UCATT over the political switch in its leadership has had little effect on site workers.Bricklayer Joe said: 'I've read a bit in the papers but no-one really knows if the rotten apples have been thrown out or they are still there running the show.'It's all a lot of arguing among the top brass, it's got nothing to do with us really.'And Alan Knowles offered a practical tip for the fledgling construction section of the EETPU.He said: 'They always come and try recruiting during our tea breaks.'They would probably get a much better reception if they tried it during work hours.'