Construction workers target NG Bailey and Balfour Beatty in de-skilling dispute

Construction workers are taking ongoing action against major construction companies in response to an attempt to use lower-paid workers with less training to carry out vital electrical work.

Submitted by R Totale on March 10, 2021

For several weeks now, rank-and-file electricians and other construction workers have been organising occupations and protests targeting employers in the "No to ESO" dispute. The dispute started when it was announced that construction companies were aiming to recruit "electrical support operatives", rather than fully-trained electricians, to carry out vital electrical work at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant site.

Following an occupation of EDF Energy's offices, the company put out a statement announcing that the plans would be paused. However, the sparks at the heart of the dispute see this as a broader attempt by construction bosses to attack their trade, similar to the BESNA dispute of the early 2010s, and have promised to continue regular actions targeting construction companies NG Baileys and Balfour Beatty until the plans are definitively scrapped.

Today (March 10th), the actions continued, with rank-and-file electricians gathering at Canary Wharf in London, as well as at NG Baileys' offices in Cardiff and Salford. Unless the Electrical Support Operative role is definitively scrapped, it seems likely that the dispute will continue to intensify.