ABOUT 40,000 electricians in the construction industry have just finished balloting over their two year pay offer. The result was due after Socialist Worker went to press.
AEEU union officials recommended the offer even though it would leave many electricians worse off. Rank and file electricians fought the deal tooth and nail, launching two unofficial strikes and a 'Vote No' campaign. Union officials organised mass meetings on every major construction site to ram the deal through. They got a rough ride.
Fury erupted at the Manchester mass meeting last week when an AEEU union official tried to sell the offer. One electrician told the meeting, 'Electricians are in the strongest position for years. Over £2 billion worth of building work is going on in the Greater Manchester area. We shouldn't have to work long hours and miss our kids growing up.'
The AEEU official was so rattled that he told the meeting, 'Why don't you all fuck off and join the EPIU?' The EPIU is the small breakaway electricians' union. One electrician said, 'We aren't leaving this union. We are going to stay and stop this rotten deal.' The full time officer apologised and withdrew the statement. The meeting rejected the pay deal unanimously.