‘It will cripple our industry’ – anger as electricians fear ruin in ‘deskilling’ row with top firms
Angry electricians protested outside the office of a leading engineering company in a row in Leeds against the training of unskilled workers in electrical work.
Union Unite led the demonstration outside NG Bailey’s Holbeck office, where Sparkies told LeedsLive they feared their industry would be crippled by plans to train “electrical support staff” they say the role of Would undermine electricians and “expand” the profession.
The engineering firm is planning three weeks of training in addition to EDF and Balfour Beattie for people who will work on electrics on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project in Somerset, said Pete Evans, Unite representative.
He feared their use could spread to other large projects like HS2 and lead to a “race to the bottom”.
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“”I trained for five years to get my qualifications. Five years is a long time, but that’s exactly what we have to go through, “said Evans in a megaphone speech.
“”[NG Bailey are] Train people in a nuclear power plant to complete a seven-day health and safety course and then complete a two-week training course on the installation of containment systems [for wires].
“These protests will continue until … this unskilled operational system is removed from the books.”
At the gates of NG Bailey, protesters chanted “ESO we say no” and waved Unite flags just to let cars drive in.
Electrician Martin Overy said his training as an electrician “gave him a future,” adding he feared that if employees replaced skilled Sparkies, young people would not get an equal opportunity.
“”Abolishing four years of qualification is very dangerous, “he said.
“”Instead of having fully qualified electricians work [Hinkley]They’ll just let people exercise. This is a nuclear power plant.
“”The apprenticeship gave me a future. I am here to protect the future of the next generation. You’re trying to take that future away.
“”No wonder young people turn to crime. “
The self-employed electrician colleague Ben feared that the industry would be “crippled” if the employees in engineering firms were to gain popularity.
“”If they do this, what jobs will electricians be used for? “, He said.
NG Bailey has not yet responded to a request for comment.