Sparks’ protest in Cardiff; each week the protest has grown. Sparks are protesting nationally against the role of construction electricians being deskilled. Photo by Rachel Barwell
Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1128/32316
From the socialist newspaper of April 7, 2021
“They want superheroes with a lot of skills, but they don’t want to give us superhero wages.”
Hinkley Point, Somerset
Hinkley Point Protest (Click to enlarge)
On March 21, members of Unite protested near the Hinkley Point power station as part of the national day of action against the assumption of the role of construction electricians.
Hinkley C is one of the largest construction projects in the country and is at the center of the dispute. It is the place where contractors first tried to take on a new role as Electric Support Operative (ESO), where workers were only trained for a few weeks before turning most of the jobs of skilled electricians down significantly Settled wages.
The companies are now proposing a similar operational role as Hinkley support. Workers protested at a nearby roundabout, making sure to be seen by other workers being driven onto the site by bus.
Speaking to the socialist, one of the workers who did not want to be named said: “There should be no deskilling of the jobs at all, there should be apprenticeships. Whatever happens here at Hinkley will be carried over to HS2 and everyone.” We expect these standards for rogue training will not be met. We expect apprentices and adult apprentices to be at the forefront of this job, and make sure the right electricians and mechanics come out of these. “
Sparks protested at the Balfour Beatty offices in Newcastle on March 21st – where they were greeted by closed doors!
As one of the Sparks said, “If these companies can get away with this, it’s going to take a lot of guys’ jobs out of them and [by using unskilled workers] may be dangerous. ”
He went on to explain, “We all came out of school with the promise of a job for life, but now they want to hire unskilled workers instead.”
Another commented on the companies, “They want superheroes with many skills, but they don’t want to give us superhero wages.”
The numbers for the weekly protests are starting to rise, but one of the electricians commented, “We have to get to the sites – there has to be a national call.”
Sparks protest in Cardiff, Photo Rachel Barwell (click to enlarge)
Sparks at an NG Bailey site joined the protest, which was supported by workers from four other unions mobilized by the Cardiff Trades Union Council. Every week the protests grew.
The mood was buoyant and determined as Sparks understand that if they don’t speak out against ESO, skilled electricians will be pushed out of the industry or employed at low rates.
The coronavirus crisis has exposed the class character of society in a variety of ways. Many are realizing that it is the working class that makes society run, not the CEOs of large corporations.
The results of the austerity measures have been presented graphically as public services have to cope with the crisis.
The government has now torn up its austerity mantra and turned to policies that not so long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis it will try to make the working class pay for it by trying to reclaim the given.
- The Socialist Party material is more important than ever, so we can continue to report on workers fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing, and so on.
- When the health crisis has subsided, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm the labor movements with a socialist program that puts the health and needs of humanity before the gains of a few.
During the crisis it was inevitable that we could not sell the socialists and raise money the way we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all of our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.
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