The Workers Party of Britain denounces renewed plans to sneak in deskilling at Hinkley Point in Bridgewater, undermining the professional status of electricians.
Nine years ago, construction electricians in the industry rebuffed an earlier attempt to impose a new contract nationally that would have had the effect of deskilling the trade and cutting wages by as much as 35 percent. This was successfully resisted by a six-month campaign of strikes and pickets.
Now bosses at Hinkley Point are at it again, trying to sneak in deskilling by the back door. Workers there report that bosses are reneging on their pledge to offer 500 full electrical apprenticeships, instead running a training course for ill-defined “support operatives”.
Workers fear that in practice this would mean unskilled workers being employed rather than skilled electricians.
Construction electricians have been round this block before and have no intention of allowing in by the back door what they have already kicked out at the front. They are acutely aware that if this attack on their livelihoods is allowed to pass, pressure will build to do the same elsewhere.
Nor will it be reassuring to the general public to hear that the critical job of wiring the brand new £2.5 billion nuclear reactor is to be carried out by a workforce whose skill base has been diluted through deskilling.
The Hinkley Point electricians are right to resist and deserve the support of workers everywhere.