Rank-and-file electricians continue to take action over attempts by major construction contractors to de-skill their trade, including occupying the offices of companies that have contracts with NG Baileys.
Throughout March and April and into May, “sparks” (electricians) have been carrying out regular actions targeting the construction companies Balfour Beatty and NG Baileys, in response to those companies trying to create a new grade of “Electrical Support Operatives”.
The ESO grade would see vital electrical work carried out by workers who had only received a few weeks’ training rather than by fully qualified electricians, and so has serious and potentially deadly health and safety implications, especially as Balfour Beatty and Baileys have tried to introduce it at Hinkley Point C, where a nuclear reactor is being built.
As the latest in a series of actions targeting these companies, on Wednesday May 5th sparks occupied the offices of Land Securities in London, who have a maintenance contract with NG Baileys.
Summarising recent developments in the dispute, Reel News write:
Over the past two weeks, sparks have continued to target NG Baileys over their dangerous deskilling plans at Hinkley Point C. The other contractor, Balfour Beatty, seem to be wobbling after promising to issue a statement – but two weeks later that statement still hasn’t appeared. Given their history of lying (particularly over blacklisting), the two week break the sparks have given them from targeted action won’t be lasting much longer.
Meanwhile, the prime target is now Land Securities offices, for whom NG Baileys have the maintenance contract. Unless Land Securities take that contract away from NG Baileys immediately – or convince them to stop their deskilling plans – they will find their offices disrupted every week from now on.
For further analysis of the dispute, see “Over the Water, Sparks Fly” from Liverpool Anarchists.