Hinkley bosses halt plans to deskill electricians

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I major issue has been avoided after controversial plans to introduce a new grade of electrical operative at the massive Hinkley Point C construction site have been shelved after protests at EDF’s offices electricians were up in arms about the declassification of skills.

The industrial disagreement is ongoing at Hinkley Point C after it was recently discovered that two new training standards had been introduced by the Engineering Construction Training Board (ECITB) that would undermine the role of the electrician, without Unite, the UK’s construction union, input or agreement.

Defective training to be halted

The matter has been raised directly with the client EDF who have reacted to Unite’s concerns. All training in this area has been postponed until the problem has been resolved. The disputed standards relate to cabling and containment work the ‘bread and butter’ work for electricians on new build construction projects.

Unite was alerted to the substandard training standards at an early stage. There are no electricians working at Hinkley Point C, currently undertaking cabling and containment work, as this phase of the project is yet to begin.

Due to the early intervention of Unite, the training of any worker or apprentice at Hinkley has not been disrupted as no one has begun to be trained on the ECTIB’s defective training standards.

Effectively deskilling work already carried out by Sparks

Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey commented saying that “The undermining of the role of electrician has been attempted for more than 30 years, most recently in 2011/12 when eight of the major mechanical and electrical (M&E) construction companies promoted the use of non-electrical personnel to carry out skilled electrical tasks under the so called BESNA agreement.

 “Unite defeated the BESNA agreement then and we will defeat this latest attempt to deskill electricians.

 “Our message to the industry is clear. Unite and its electrical membership will oppose any and all efforts to weaken the skill set of the trade which will undermine the industry by introducing non-skilled operatives.

 “Any deskilling of electricians would result in a race to the bottom and would be highly damaging to industrial relations across the sector.”