Scotland Yard has been in contact with UNITE the Union to try and stop a planned protest outside a building site in Oxford Street tomorrow morning Wednesday 5th Oct.
For the past 3 weeks thousands of electricians have been involved in protests at Kings Cross, Farringdon Crossrail Station, the Shard and Blackfriars Station in a bitter campaign against a 35% pay cut and de-skilling of the industry.
The dispute has already spread beyond London. Last week the Tyne Tunnel was closed by protesters and walkouts have occurred at Grangemouth in Scotland and Lindsey Oil Refinery on Humberside.
The action has been organised by a grassroots network led by rank & file activists rather than the official union. In London two weeks ago Farringdon Station was invaded by 300 sparks – l and last week the main road at Kings Cross was closed by police last week after being blocked by 400 protesters who then stormed the station concourse.
Met Police have now decided to adopt a harsher approach in fear that Oxford Street may be brought to a standstill during rush-hour tomorrow morning.Jerry Hicks a grass roots, rank and file committee member said “The TUC called for civil disobedience, well here it is. This will almost certainly bring the issue to a head. They are determined to demonstrate.”
The background to the dispute is that the largest electrical contractors in the UK: Bailey Building Services, Balfour Beatty Engineering Services, Tommy Clarke, Crown House Technologies, Gratte Brothers, SES and SPIE Matthew Hall have all decided to withdraw from the nationally negotiated electrical agreement [JIB]
Electricians are currently paid £16.25 per hour - the proposed new contracts cut this to £10 per hour for the vast majority of the work. In addition the new contract would allow non-qualified staff to carry out electrical work. Dismissal Notices have already been sent out to thousands of electrical workers - the new contracts will be imposed on 7th December.
The building site in Oxford Street is a Tommy Clarke site - one of the rogue electrical contractors
It has been reported that major clients fear that the dispute will escalate and impact upon projects across the UK - some tendering processes have been halted because of the negative publicity around the electrical firms involved.
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