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Tower crane operators to strike at Spurs’ new stadium site next week

The crane workers are at an impasse with management and will issue a 24-hour work stoppage on September 9.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Tower crane operators who work for a company subcontracted to build Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium are set to go on a 24-hour strike next week after a long-simmering feud with their employer.

According to the blog Construction Enquirer, tower crane operators who work for HTC Wolffkran, a sub-contracted company that works on projects all over London, are embroiled in a long-standing dispute with their employer. They have arranged for a 24-hour work stoppage on “high profile projects,” which includes Tottenham’s new stadium in north London. Spurs’ stadium uses a good number of tower cranes, which are clearly visible above the new stadium construction zone.

So, a couple of points here.

First, and most importantly, this is called a “strike” but is more a 24-hour work stoppage. If it lasts the planned 24 hours, it would be mostly symbolic and would have at best a negligible impact on stadium construction in the long term. It also doesn’t necessarily grind all stadium construction to a halt. Nobody should be worried that cranes going quiet for a day is going to mean that Spurs wont’ be ready to move into the new stadium next summer.

Secondly, this doesn’t really have anything to do with Tottenham Hotspur at all. The workers aren’t upset at Spurs, or Daniel Levy. There are no indications that there are any significant labor issues concerning Tottenham or with the Northumberland Development Project. Rather, the stadium construction is being targeted because it is a high-profile project that uses this particular company, and the workers are using it to make a point to their management.

Finally, it would probably surprise no one to know that we at Cartilage Free Captain are broadly in support of workers receiving fair pay for work. And while I am not well versed on labor laws, negotiations, and strikes in the United Kingdom, in general terms workers asserting their labor rights to receive concessions from their employers is usually a good thing, even if it impacts the football club that we follow and love.

In short, I don’t think there’s really anything to worry about here, and even if there were, it would still be a good thing in human terms to make sure the people who are building Spurs’ beautiful new stadium get paid.