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Electricians' protests spread

by Simon Basketter

Protests against plans by eight major contractors to withdraw from the JIB industrial relations agreement spread last week.

Contractors have ditched a 40-year old wage agreement, pitting over 6,000 workers against the building bosses.

There were protests in London, Newcastle and Manchester, targeting sites run by Crown House, Balfour Beatty and NG Bailey.

At the London protest outside the Shard on the South Bank, rank and file workers voiced their opposition to the plans.

The workers are fighting deskilling attacks that would mean a 35 percent pay cut.

It would destroy terms and conditions for new workers.

Protests have already been held at Blackfriars Station and Westfield shopping centre.

The industry is racked with bogus self-employment and the subcontracting system.

There is much anger and frustration over unemployment and job insecurity.

This latest attack is the last straw for some.

Vince, an electrician, told Socialist Worker, “The bosses are scared of action. But we have to move quickly.”

A number of the electricians are demanding that a strike ballot is called sooner rather than later.

The dispute has the potential to affect hundreds of sites across Britain. But the huge companies will have to be forced to listen. That will mean hard hitting strikes.

One worker said, “The union is dragging its feet, as it always does. We can’t wait until next spring for a ballot. We need to take action before the bosses make the changes a reality.”

Further protests were planned for Wednesday this week at the Olympic site at Pudding Mill Lane. Workers will also protest on 21 September at Farringdon Station as part of the campaign.

Manchester rank and file meeting, Saturday 1 October, 12 noon, Mechanics Institute, Princess St, Manchester


Article information

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Tue 13 Sep 2011, 18:23 BST
Issue No. 2269
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