Deskilling protests by sparks electricians continue

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The socialist March 31, 2021 |
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Photo: Socialist Party Scotland (click to enlarge)

Northeast

Sparks were located outside of NG Bailey’s headquarters in Newcastle, North East England, which alongside Balfour Beatty is trying to lead the way among the giant companies that train electricians.

The words of Boris Johnson, who had reported “Greed and Capitalism,” rang in her ears. The anger at Johnson and the Tories was palpable and the words used against him unrepeatable!

If the bosses prevail, then 70% of the work currently being done by qualified electricians will be done by ESOs (Electricity Companies). Instead of four to five years of training, there would only be a two to three week training program. Instead of employing ten qualified electricians, there will be three electricians and seven ESOs who would “race down”.

One of the protesters said: “There is no way this is going to happen. We are not going to let them do 70% of our work – it won’t happen!”

It was also suggested that protests were minor at this point, but workers also knew that they would build a powerful grassroots movement. As one said: “We will win! We won against Besna ten years ago – we will win again!”

The protest ended with one of the sparks firing a rocket and saying, “There will be fireworks!”

Elaine Brunskill, Northern Socialist Party

London

For the fifth time in a row, the sparks hit the streets of London on March 24th.

Once again they led the fight against deskilling to the doors of NG Bailey, one of the electricity companies behind the ESO (Electrical Service Operator) class that would undercut qualified wages for bosses.

Frank Morris, EU member for construction, told construction electricians that the protests are spreading and gaining momentum across the country.

The ESO class appears to be taken off the table at the Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Plant because of spark pressure, but the fight continues until the likes of Bailey and Balfour withdraw.

A retired electrician told passers-by that deskilling would mean new offices, workplaces, and hospitals would be a safety hazard. Rob Williams, of the National Shop Stewards Network, paid tribute to the Shrewsbury picket lines and their families whose beliefs have been irrevocably broken after 48 years of fighting for justice.

He said, “We need a union investigation to uncover these workers’ facility and the cover-up.”

Members of the Hackney Socialist Party

Merseyside

The mood was determined by pickets outside the Balfour Beatty site on the Wirral. Workers passing by on their way to their own workplaces could not miss the row of banners and Unite flags, helping the strikers chant “No to ESO” in support of their cause.

Roger Bannister, Merseyside Socialist Party

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