Up to 50 electricians and supporters took part in demonstration outside a central London building site, over company’s unilateral withdrawal from agreement covering pay rates, safety

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Around 50 construction electricians and supporters have taken part in a protest in London against what they say is a ‘back door’ attempt to impose wage cuts similar to those which triggered last year’s BESNA dispute.

(Pictured: electricians protest in central London, November 2011)

The demonstration, at a building site near St Pancras station, targeted Crown House, one of the companies in the now-defunct group of eight employers.

The firm recently withdrew from the long-established Joint Industry Board [JIB] agreement which covers pay, training and safety levels for mechanical and engineering workers on construction sites in England and Wales.

Activists are concerned that the firm is seeking to change electricians’ contracts and pay rates unilaterally, despite continuing industry-wide negotiations designed to secure a single, national agreement to replace the JIB in the wake of the seven-month dispute.

Sparks activist, Ian Bradley, who took part in this morning’s protest, told UnionNews: “Crown House, the anti-union blacklisters, obviously never learned their lesson from the BESNA dispute.  We are determined though to beat them again.

“We beat BESNA, we can beat BESNA2.

“However, this time we are going to make sure we build the organisation on-site, so this never happens again.”

Protest organisers, who describe Crown House as a ‘test case’ say one of the company’s HR officers appeared at the demonstration, posing as one of the protesters.

They say there will be further demonstrations every Friday at Crown House sites across the country.

The protest comes as rank and file reps on the sparks’ National Combine Committee – which was set up after the success of the BESNA dispute – continue to discuss whether Unite should agree to sign up to new ‘partnership agreements’ with construction industry employers.

Activists say they want an end to ‘back room deals’.


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