Socialist Worker

Electricians' ballot result due as fight spreads

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2288

The result of the strike vote of electricians at Balfour Beatty is due this week. And protests are still spreading around Britain against attempts to force workers to sign new contracts.

Bosses want to cut wages by a third as part of a package of savage attacks.

In Glasgow workers held protests outside a new Morrisons store, and NG Bailey electricians walked off site to join the protest last week.

Workers also protested at the NG Bailey headquarters in Lanarkshire. And there was a walkout at the New Goretex Factory in Livingston on Tuesday.

All NG Bailey electricians, pipefitters and plumbers walked off site at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Project last Friday. Management ordered them back onto site—only to be laughed at and ignored.

In Wales there were protests at Llandough Hospital, where Spie Matthew Hall workers walked off site, and at NG Bailey’s office in Coryton.

Over 50 construction workers protested outside ConocoPhillips in Immingham last Wednesday.

At the protest at the OGN site in Newcastle, Spie Matthew Hall workers walked out. There were also protests in Manchester, Redcar, Edinburgh and Kings Cross station in London.

Socialist Worker supporters in the construction industry from across Britain met on Sunday in London. Workers discussed the way forward in the dispute.

Electricians also discussed the relationship between the bureaucracy and the rank and file in the dispute. Unite has continually made pledges of support to the sparks which it has then failed to deliver on.

The caucus grappled with how the rank and file builds on its successes and gets more out of the union.

A series of rank and file meetings took place last week around the country. There were big arguments with the officials in London, Scotland and Redcar—in particular over the union asking people to sign the contracts.

The caucus agreed to argue for a day of walkouts and pickets next Thursday, when the Balfour Beatty ballot result is due and with everyone expecting a legal challenge.

At Blackfriars station in London there will be a picket this Friday from 7am and another from 7pm.

A protest supported by Unite has now been called for Wednesday 15 February at the Electrical Contractors Association annual dinner.

National rank and file meeting. Saturday 4 February, 1pm, Carrs Lane Church Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham

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Article information

Sat 4 Feb 2012, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2288
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