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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)

Swansea

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

London

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told protesting electricians that EDF at Hinkley Point is moving, but the likes of NG Baileys and Balfours haven't withdrawn the threat of ESO, so the fight has to continue.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

Motherwell

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

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In The Socialist 24 March 2021:


Protest

Protesting is not a crime

Defying the anti-protest restrictions

Police attempt to silence mothers

Police invade student homes


NHS

NHS pay: 15% now

Fighting NHS privatisation

Haringey: Hands off our GP practices


Elections

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


Campaigns

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


 

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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

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Swansea:

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

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triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: Abortion rights under attack

Workers:

triangleSparks win victory!

Electricians:

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!

Solidarity:

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