Electricians win deskilling fight

Submitted by AWL on 15 June, 2021 - 6:20 Author: Ollie Moore
Sparks' protest

A campaign of direct action by electricians in the construction industry has scored a major victory. Contractors Balfour Beatty and NG Bailey are “permanently withdrawing” plans to introduce a new grade of electrician with lower training standards at the major Hinckley Point C (HPC) development.

A letter announcing the bosses’ climbdown said the plans were scrapped “after Unite [union] raised concerns.”

Those “concerns” were expressed in a campaign, taking place over several months, in which workers and their supporters mounted protests, including demonstrations and sit-ins, at sites connected to Balfour Beatty, NG Bailey, and EDF, the French energy firm which is the main client at HPC. The actions were organised by Unite, primarily by activists involved in the Unite Construction Rank-and-File network, one of the few places in the labour movement in Britain where something resembling genuine, independent rank-and-file organisation has been maintained.

The victory means all workers on the HPC site will continue to be trained to the existing standards of the Joint Industry Board.

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