Electrical workers target London for pay demonstration

Angry electricians led a demonstration outside the new Westfield centre in Stratford this morning as rows continue over their pay and conditions.

More than 150 electrical workers, calling themselves the Sparks, claim that new terms and conditions, which eight major construction firms are proposing to sign up to, will cut their pay up to 35 per cent and introduce new, lower-paid skill grades.

Veteran of the Labour movement Tony Benn was guest speaker at the event where he told the men that the essence of trade unionism was joining together to become stronger, using an analogy of a child stuck in a well who asks his rescuers to join their ropes together to get him from the bottom of the well.

Other speakers included Michael Dooley, a candidate for general secretary in the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, and Steve Headley from the union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers.

Alan Keys, a spokesperson for the Sparks, said: “This is a fight we will need to win if we want to maintain our bargaining position. We only hope that our union UNITE will move quickly in support of the Sparks, but we will proceed with our plans and future activities.”

The Sparks are organising a series of national demonstrations outside high-profile sites to encourage support from other workers.

Around 200 of the tradesmen protested outside Blackfriars station on August 24 and their next London demonstration is set to be held on September 7 at 6.30am at the Shard in London Bridge, the tallest tower being built in Europe,