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22 June 2021

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Gateshead: Bosses sack sparks protesting for safety measures

The sacked sparks form a picket line

The sacked sparks form a picket line   (Click to enlarge)

Elaine Brunskill, North East Socialist Party

Solidarity to rank-and-file electricians who have been sacked because they downed tools at Amazon's warehouse, under construction at Follingsby Park, Gateshead.

The sparks' walk-out was reporedly against the highly dangerous practice by the electrical contractor SIS Systems of using labourers to connect up electrical work. The sparks are resolute they cannot tolerate this approach. As one picket explained: "We're told if we see something unsafe stop the job, but if you stop the job, they sack you."

There was seething anger that lives were being put at risk for the sake of profit. One spark pointed out: "It's not water we're messing about with, its electricity. If the work isn't done correctly it can cause fires and kill people." Also, that there was anger that the contractor is prepared to risk lives for the sake of a few pounds per hour - the difference between the pay of an electrician who has been through an apprenticeship, and an unskilled labourer.

It's an attempt by bosses to drive down wages and conditions.

The picket line outside Amazon's warehouse was very peaceful. However, the police were called by site security. Many of the sacked workers were indignant that the police weren't prepared to do anything against the contractors who were breaking health and safety rules, but were clearly there at the behest of the bosses.

SIS Systems has said that if there are any "issues of threatening behaviour, sabotage or any trouble whatsoever then nobody will be paid by SIS for the week." By far the biggest threat is from unscrupulous SIS Systems who are contemptuous of the health and safety of workers in the warehouse.

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In The Socialist 22 June 2021:

What we think

Chesham and Amersham by-election


NHS in crisis - 'It's time for action'

Outsourced London hospital workers fight for better pay

Leicester private healthcare tragedy

Exeter Trades Council backs NHS protests


Northern Ireland and Brexit

Sacking non-vaccinated care workers will not save lives

Furlough reduction risks job losses

Building back better? Fight for a socialist recovery

Anti-protest bill breaches human rights

Tories deliberately underfund childcare

Unite election

Unite general secretary contest: Vote for Sharon Graham

NSSN conference 2021

NSSN conference 2021: When given a lead workers will fight


Women and the criminal 'injustice' system

Tory review won't deliver justice for rape victims


Iran's presidential election

Are Biden's immigration policies a break with Trump's?

Workplace news

Interview with newly elected Unison NEC member and hospital worker

Gateshead: Bosses sack sparks protesting for safety measures

Oaks Park school strike against bully bosses

Leicestershire engineers' fifth week of strikes against fire and rehire

DVLA dispute: Escalation needed

Warehouse workers fight 50% cut in redundancy pay

Carmarthenshire: Fighting for trade union recognition at council-owned company


TUSC calls for local 'People's Budget' campaigns

Youth Fight For Jobs: more urgent than ever

London Socialist Party young members' day school

'Socialism is the hope of the world'

Fighting Fund target smashed!

Readers' Opinion

Book review: Shuggie Bain

Response to Observer article on China


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Related links:


triangleStop press: Sparks walk out

triangleGateshead: Sacked electricians reinstated

triangleRank and file sparks at the Amazon construction site at Follingsby Park, Gateshead, protesting on the day before they achieved victory by being reinstated.

triangleSparks win victory!

triangleReading, 26.5.21: Standing with the #Sparks blockading #AWE in the fight against de-skilling #No2ESO. NG Bailey & Balfour Beatty must pull away from their deskilling agenda!


triangleLocked down, hard up - Fight back!

triangleAdding demands to the weekly claps

triangleGateshead FC crisis: save our Heed!

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Health and safety:

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triangleFilm review: Nomadland


triangleHundreds march to scrap Silvertown Tunnel project

Article dated 22 June 2021

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