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Electricians occupy building company HQ
Rob Williams, National Shop Stewards Network chair
Construction electricians brought their campaign of defiance to the home of one of the 'Dirty Seven' contractors in London on 23 November. Over 150 sparks marched from their morning protest at Kings Cross to the headquarters of Gratte Brothers and occupied the foyer of the office for over an hour.
Grattes is one of the companies looking to withdraw from the Joint Industry Board (JIB) national agreement with Unite which will lead to de-skilling. This will cut many electricians' wages by up to 35% by lowering rates to £10 an hour on the new BESNA contracts. This came a day after it was revealed that top executives in Britain have seen their income rise by an incredible 49%.
Grattes is the company whose Cannon Street site manager infamously told one of the sparks a few weeks ago: "If it was up to me, I'd pay them £1 an hour"! Angry electricians shouted at managers telling them to explain why they are slashing their wages but they just stood silent on the stairs. In fact one of them asked: "What is the JIB?"!
This is the latest protest in an incredible campaign of rank-and-file construction workers that is now into its fourth month. Over the last few weeks it has escalated into stoppages at sites in London and nationally, including at the West Burton and Ratcliffe power stations in the East Midlands and at Corus on Teesside.
In The Socialist 30 November 2011:
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