Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 24 March 2021

No let up as sparks continue protests against deskilling

Sparks protests continue in Swansea, photo: Alec Thraves

Sparks protests continue in Swansea, photo: Alec Thraves   (Click to enlarge)


On 17 March, for the second time in a fortnight, Unite electricians lobbied construction workers entering the large NG Bailey's Indoor Arena site.

Swansea Trades Council and Swansea Socialist Party members again joined the protest in solidarity. This was much appreciated by the Unite members.

Our leaflets were snapped up and workers in other trades expressed concern that if deskilling of sparks was successful then they could be next in line.

Younger workers, unsure at first about how to respond, were largely supportive after discussing with the Unite full-time officer and the other protesters.

This action by the sparks has definitely been a topic of discussion on the site because the few who refused a leaflet said they already had one from the last time we leafleted and had been talking about it with the other lads on site.

During the quiet periods, some of the sparks from Cardiff engaged in some friendly banter with the Swansea members, but ultimately agreed that whoever won the Swans v Bluebirds derby we would all be winners if we defeat these employers attack on our terms and conditions.

Alec Thraves, Vice-president, Swansea Trades Council and Socialist Party


The sparks took the fight against deskilling to the upmarket streets of Covent Garden and the Royal Opera House. The job is run by NG Bailey, one of the main companies behind the Electrical Service Operator (ESO) grade that threatens to have 70% of electricians' work done by unskilled and cheaper labour to boost the bosses' profits.

This was one of four protests organised in a campaign that is building, and there are signs that the bosses are being pushed back.

Unite EC member Frank Morris told protesting electricians that EDF at Hinkley Point is moving, but the likes of NG Baileys and Balfours haven't withdrawn the threat of ESO, so the fight has to continue.

Frank told Reel News: "Twenty five years ago, Balfour Beatty rewired the Opera House and then blacklisted its entire workforce, and 25 years later they're still at it." As one of the sparks said: "If we show solidarity and unity, we've got these companies on the run."

Rob Williams, Hackney Socialist Party


There was a determined mood at the 20-strong Scottish Unite rank-and-file protest outside the offices of NG Bailey at Strathclyde Park. Growing anger at the cost-cutting and deskilling practices of Bailey and Balfour construction companies was evident.

There was strong support for the calling of national industrial action to deal with the profiteering bosses, on wages, terms and conditions, and the race to the bottom. The next steps in turning the weekly protests into a national campaign, including industrial action, are vital.

Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland

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 government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • 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.
  • When the health crisis subsides, 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 24 March 2021:


Protesting is not a crime

Defying the anti-protest restrictions

Police attempt to silence mothers

Police invade student homes


NHS pay: 15% now

Fighting NHS privatisation

Haringey: Hands off our GP practices


Battle for a fighting, anti-austerity Liverpool mayor

Why I am standing for TUSC

Help fund the Socialist Party's stand as part of TUSC

Fighting Sexual Harassment

Fighting sexual harassment and gender violence on campus

Justice for Blessing Olusegun

Film Review: Moxie

Paris Commune 150 Years

150th anniversary of the Paris Commune

2011 Pensions Strike

Lessons of the 2011 pensions strike: when workers showed their power

Workplace News

PCS elections: increased support for Broad Left Network

Engineering workers strike against 'fire and rehire' in Leicester

'Sleep-ins' ruling must lead to a huge campaign for social care workers' rights

Shrewsbury Pickets win: Convictions overturned

Sparks continue protests against deskilling

Beal High school strike as management refuse to negotiate over fair sick pay scheme

Preparing to organise workers in Enfield

Support victimised bus driver reps and Socialist Party members Declan and Moe

Goodlord workers continue all-out strike


Save John Carroll - fight is far from over!

Stop evictions and drop the debts

Online meeting - Ending violence against women, the socialist approach

Socialist Party regional conferences meet online

Readers' Opinion

The Socialist Inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 24 March 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Construction workers:

triangleConstruction electricians protesting against de-skilling, outside Balfour Beatty, Canary Wharf, London, on 10.3.21. Photo by Isai Priya

triangleHull construction workers force bosses to shut down site over health and safety fears

triangleHull: Construction workers' walkout forces employer to back down

triangleHull construction workers strike against blacklisting


triangleEvery voter in Wales has the opportunity to vote for TUSC

triangleDefying the anti-protest restrictions

triangleI couldn't just stand and watch! - Why I joined the Socialist Party

trianglePCS members at Swansea DVLA to strike for safety


triangleSt Mungo's strikers fight on

triangleMetroline buses to face summer of strikes unless it drops 'remote sign-on'

triangleUnite general secretary election nomination stage


triangleChesterfield and Mansfield (joint) Socialist Party: What's the alternative to Starmer's Labour?

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: How can we fight for socialist change and a new workers' party?


triangleDefend the right to protest - to resist bosses' attacks


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


triangleGoodlord strike forces talks - solidarity needed for crucial dispute

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


National Education Union

Four Socialist Party members elected to NEU executive


East London

Goodlord strike forces talks - solidarity needed for crucial dispute



St Mungo's strikers fight on



For a fighting, democratic, member-led union to stop the austerity attacks



Go Ahead offers deal to Manchester bus drivers



Beal High School strike against sick policy resumes



Bellway must pay! Make our homes safe!



Police attempt to intimidate Newcastle protesters



Nottingham NHS pay protest



Establishing factory sales of the Socialist in Leicester


Tony Mulhearn

Plaque dedicated to Tony Mulhearn


Socialist Party

Why you should join the Socialist Party



Defend the right to protest - to resist bosses' attacks



Sparks block Cardiff building site against deskilling



Vote 'yes' in the PCS DWP ballot

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



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: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021