Socialist Worker

Electricians protest around the country

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2285

Hundreds of electricians protested today against a planned working agreement which could see their wages cut by about 35 per cent.

In Hartlepool 200 workers from across the region massed at to show the strength of feeling against attempts to tear up the national agreement.

The crowd flanked the entrance to Hartlepool power station at the roundabout on Tees Road.

Ratcliffe-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire saw a ten-mile tailback of traffic as workers stayed off site and blocked the road.

There were also protests in Cardiff and Manchester.

In London some 150 people assembled at Blackfriars station. There was some disquiet from a number of electricians that promises made last week to the rank and file by the Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey had not translated into facts on the ground.

One electrician told Socialist Worker, “It’s good we are being backed by the union but they need to turn words into action. We need them to actually start the ballot and we need a date for another national demonstration.”

The bosses are trying to bully people into signing up to savage pay cuts, the end of the JIB pension, cuts to travel time and fares, the ending of the right to claim unfair dismissal from day one and giving the employer the right to downgrade conditions whenever they choose.

The new terms are set to be introduced in nine weeks. The bosses had threatened to sack people if they didn’t return their contracts by last Monday, but backed off after hundreds of workers returned their contracts unsigned.

Unite has said it is set to reballot the Balfour Beatty workforce and those at two of the other seven companies trying to break the national agreement.

From day one the rank and file has driven this dispute. Escalation is urgently needed.

Unite national rank and file meeting. Saturday 14 January, 1pm–4pm, Carrs Lane Church Centre, Birmingham B4 7SX


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News
Wed 11 Jan 2012, 13:08 GMT
Issue No. 2285
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