deskilling electricians

Plans to introduce deskilling training standards, which led to widespread protests by Unite electricians across the UK, have been scrapped

Hinkley Point C contractors Balfour Beatty and NG Bailey said they remain committed to the Joint Industry Board (JIB) agreement and the training of fully qualified electricians.

Balfour Beatty and NG Bailey have now issued a statement which includes the confirmation that: “The disputed Electrical training standards developed by the ECITB (Engineering Construction Training Board) for HPC to create the electrical support operative have been permanently withdrawn by EDF after Unite raised concerns.”

They went on to state that these standards; “do not form part of our current or future development plans”, which Unite further welcomes.

Deskilling concerns

Unite’s concerns about deskilling were raised earlier this year, after it emerged that the two companies were part of an alliance at Hinkley Point C (HPC), who were seeking to introduce training standards for a new position of electrical support operative at the development.

The new training standards, which Unite say amounted to the deskilling of electricians, had not been discussed with Unite and the union immediately objected to the proposals, which were therefore never implemented.

Unite national officer for construction, Jerry Swain, said: “This statement is welcomed and provides clear clarification that the companies are committed to the JIB and the future training of fully qualified electricians.

“Unite’s position was clear from the outset that it would oppose any efforts to weaken the skillset and training of electricians.

“Now that this matter has been put to bed it is imperative that everyone involved in the construction industry commits to work together.

“This must include how we improve and increase the training of workers to ensure that the sector is an attractive and financially rewarding option for workers.

“Unite has during this period simply sought to protect our highly qualified members against any dilution of their skills.”

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