Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/304/13758
Manchester: Electricians Fight De-Skilling
ELECTRICIANS WORKING at Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, a major prestige project for the city council, started to take strike action a few days ago.
Christian Bunke, Manchester Socialist Party
Steve, the local shop steward, has just been made redundant. He stood up for a fellow worker also fired by the management. "We want the right to be consulted. We want to stop unskilled workers doing electrical work, in contravention of national health and safety legislation and our national agreement."
Their employer, DAF Electrical, refuses to negotiate with the TGWU, the union electricians are organised in. They increasingly use unskilled workers to do skilled electricians' jobs, for as little as half the skilled rate, despite skilled electricians being the cheapest in the European Union.
It puts workers at risk, skilled and unskilled alike and the company does not even pay wages on time.
But the resolve of the trade unionists has been strengthened, says Steve: "The support from the Manchester public and from fellow trade unionists has been overwhelming, I've even got cheques coming in from other electricians.
"Whole branches are getting involved, from ours as well as other unions. We had a donation this morning from the PCS. This is happening all over Britain, not just this site. The resolve amongst younger trade unionists has been great, we will broaden the campaign out to other workplaces."
Manchester Socialist Party also gives full support to this campaign. For information about how to make donations contact: 07813 456 831.
In The Socialist 14 June 2003: