Sparks protest at Llandough Hospital

Construction electricians take part in national campaign against pay cuts

Sparks protest

50 UNITE electricians and supporters gathered outside Llandough Hospital to protest against the plans of big construction companies to withdraw from the JIB agreement on pay and conditions. Spie Matthews, which employs construction workers building the hospital extension, is one of seven multi-million pound companies attempting to force through massive pay cuts of up to 35% by deskilling the job, as well as a worsening of conditions and an attack on trade union rights.

The importance of keeping fully skilled electricians installing equipment at vital facilities like hospitals was underlined yesterday when 86 operations had to be cancelled at the hospital after the back up generator was put out of action by the theft of copper wiring. Hospitals cannot afford to be at risk by less skilled labour undermining standards.

The electricians received support from Cardiff Trades Council members, as well Socialist Party members in UNISON, a union which also has health worker members at Llandough, lecturer's union UCU from Cardiff and Vale college, who deliver construction training courses, as well as other unions. Links are developing every day between public and private sector workers that could enornously strengthen campaigns on both sides. Public sector unions, for example, often have members sitting on bodies like Local Health boards and could argue that any company which breaks the JIB should not be given construction contracts.

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