Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1123/32116

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 March 2021

Sparks force bosses back but fight continues to stamp out deskilling

Electricians protesting at EDF offices in London 3 March 21. Photo Isai Priya

Electricians protesting at EDF offices in London 3 March 21. Photo Isai Priya   (Click to enlarge)

Rob Williams, Socialist Party industrial organiser

Rank-and-file construction electricians launched their fight against deskilling at the £22.5 billion Hinkley Point nuclear power station with a number of early morning protests on 24 February.

Socialist Party members and National Shop Stewards Network supporters took part as the 'sparks' demonstrated at EDF Energy in central London, and also protested in Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle. It appears that a training course for 'electrical support operatives' has now been suspended. This is undoubtedly a fantastic victory and shows what is possible when a fighting lead is given.

But the Unite Electrical and Mechanical Combine has promised that the fight goes on until the bosses "cease their systematic attack on the skill set of electricians and other trades immediately and forever."

The protests sent a clear message to the electrical contractors that an attempt to deskill the trade, and thereby attack pay, terms and conditions, as they tried to do a decade ago in the Besna dispute, will be met with the same ferocious struggle of protests and walkouts that defeated the bosses then. Two of the Besna companies, NG Baileys and Balfour Beatty, are now at the forefront of the latest dispute.

The electricians are determined that the same old story of making workers pay for the bosses' profits by using deskilling to attack wages and terms and conditions must be defeated.

This is more vital than ever during Covid and the economic crisis. This pandemic has decisively shown that militant union organisation on the sites is the only way to ensure workers' health and safety as well as defend living standards.

Unite has come out forcefully against the bosses' plans. In its statement it says: "The matter has been raised directly with the client EDF who have reacted to Unite's concerns. All training in this area has been postponed until the problem has been resolved. The disputed standards relate to cabling and containment work the 'bread and butter' work for electricians on new build construction projects. Unite was alerted to the substandard training standards at an early stage. There are no electricians working at Hinkley Point C, currently undertaking cabling and containment work, as this phase of the project is yet to begin. Due to the early intervention of Unite, the training of any worker or apprentice at Hinkley has not been disrupted as no one has begun to be trained on the ECTIB's defective training standards."

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "Unite defeated the Besna agreement then and we will defeat this latest attempt to deskill electricians. Our message to the industry is clear. Unite and its electrical membership will oppose any and all efforts to weaken the skill set of the trade which will undermine the industry by introducing non-skilled operatives."

The sparks are determined that any suspension of training has to be permanently ended and, the promise of 500 electrical apprenticeships be honoured at Hinkley. The fight continues, with weekly protests at NG Baileys and Balfour Beatty sites and will escalate up to and including strike action until this attack is defeated.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 10 March 2021:


Budget

Not a budget for the working class!

Public sector workers respond to the budget


News

President of 'big four' Labour-affiliated trade union joins TUSC committee

Women's health matters


International Women's Day

A fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

A history of International Women's Day


What we think

Liverpool Labour meltdown - Fight for socialist policies


School safety

Schools' safety - teachers demand fighting union strategy


Features

'Casino capitalism' - driving another potential financial Armageddon

1981: New Cross Massacre


Workplace

Bus workers under attack and fighting back

Manchester indefinite bus strike against 'fire and rehire'

HMRC: Pay deal agreed but at what cost?

British Gas strike

Sparks force bosses back but fight continues to stamp out deskilling

Reinstate victimised bus driver Declan Clune

RAF Leeming strike escalates

Tech workers walk out against 'fire and rehire'

Victory for Judith, defend Moe


Campaigns

Why we need socialists in London city hall

Socialist Students conference

Swansea BLM protest against racist police brutality

Union fight to save musicians' livelihoods

Labour surrenders to Tories in Devon

Determined to smash the fighting fund target to fuel election challenge in May


 

Home   |   The Socialist 10 March 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Electricians:

triangleStop press: Sparks walk out

triangleGateshead: Sacked electricians reinstated

triangleRank and file sparks at the Amazon construction site at Follingsby Park, Gateshead, protesting on the day before they achieved victory by being reinstated.

triangleProtesting in Enfield, London, in support of electricians sacked by contractor SIS Systems at Amazon's warehouse under construction at Follingsby Park, Gateshead. 21.6.21

triangleSparks win victory!

Unite:

triangleBus driver Tracey Scholes reinstated at Go North West

triangleScunthorpe scaffs resume indefinite strike action over pay

triangleNorth London NHS - "It's going to be us who saves it"

triangleTesco strike action latest

Besna:

triangleReading, 26.5.21: Standing with the #Sparks blockading #AWE in the fight against de-skilling #No2ESO. NG Bailey & Balfour Beatty must pull away from their deskilling agenda!

triangleReading, 26.5.21: Standing with the #Sparks blockading #AWE in the fight against de-skilling #No2ESO. NG Bailey & Balfour Beatty must pull away from their deskilling agenda!

triangleDeskilling protests by sparks electricians continue

Balfour Beatty:

triangleProtests against deskilling and lower wages

triangleWoolwich Crossrail walkouts to demand promised bonuses

Construction:

triangleScunthorpe scaffs strike into fifth week

Apprenticeships:

triangleSparks' protest in Cardiff; each week the protest has grown. Sparks are protesting nationally against the role of construction electricians being deskilled. Photo by Rachel Barwell

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/1/22

Police

Oliver Campbell - 31 years fighting for justice

19/1/22

Strike

Sheffield Just Eat striking couriers speak about the longest gig economy strike

19/1/22

Pay

South Yorkshire Stagecoach strike results in "huge pay win"

19/1/22

Pay

Scunthorpe scaffs resume indefinite strike action over pay

19/1/22

Pay

Somers Forge workers continue pay strike

19/1/22

Coventry

Coventry bin strike continues in face of Labour council's stunts and lies

19/1/22

Strike

Workplace news in brief

19/1/22

Bus

Bus driver Tracey Scholes reinstated at Go North West

19/1/22

Royal Mail

Royal Mail: Unofficial walkouts precede bigger battle to come on pay and workload

19/1/22

Newham

Newham college strike solid against bully privatisers

19/1/22

Bradford

Pauline Wall memorial meeting

19/1/22

NUS

NUS walkout: Organise to fight for free education on 2 March

19/1/22

Socialist Students

Southampton uni ignores staff and students in exam farce

19/1/22

Protest

Demonstrating against the Tory anti-protest bill

19/1/22

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest: Campaign unites families facing eviction

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


January 2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999