Unite members win first battle in authorized battle towards deskilling electricians at Hinkley Level C
UNITE members have won the first battle in the fight against electricians at Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset, the construction union announced today.
Union officials stepped in after the Engineering Construction Training Board (ECITB) rolled out two training standards that Unite said would undermine the role of electricians at the £ 20 billion site currently under construction.
The union said this was done without their input or consent.
Ordinary members occupied the offices of EDF Energy, the French state-owned company running the project, and threatened to block the site.
As a result of the protests, EDF has announced that it will postpone plans for all training in this area, which were carried out by contractors NG Bailey and Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick, which are now being postponed until a long-term solution is found.
The controversial standards relate to wiring and containment work, the “bread and butter” work for electricians on new construction projects.
There are no electricians working at Hinkley Point C as this phase of the project has not yet started. This means that no employee is affected by the change in training standards.
General Secretary Len McCluskey said, “Unite will oppose any effort to weaken the trading capabilities that will undermine the industry by introducing unskilled workers.
“Any deskilling of electricians would be a race to the bottom and severely damage working relationships across the industry.”
Unite Electrical and Mechanical Combine said, “We appreciate the news that all training will be suspended until our dispute is resolved, and we appreciate Len McCluskey’s statement of support.
“We have had to endure for over 30 years [this] Deskilling agenda.
“Every time we responded and every time these companies have been forced to withdraw. But they keep coming back.
“We will no longer tolerate these attacks.”
A spokesman for Hinkley Point C said: “Hinkley Point C and its union partners have entered into skills development and training agreements in the UK, including a commitment to create 1,000 new apprenticeships.
“This advanced approach is designed to maximize employment opportunities for the local people and to help them develop new skills.
“Productive discussions are now taking place to reach agreement on the curriculum for the new training courses.”