Self-employed electricians launch IWGB branch to ‘fight against exploitation and de-skilling’

News

  Posted by: electime      11th July 2018

  • Branch will campaign for better pay and conditions for self-employed electricians and fight against the de-professionalisation of the trade
  • Inaugural open meeting scheduled for 26 July

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has launched an Electrical Workers Branch to campaign for the rights of London’s self-employed electricians against a sector is “rife with abuse”, with self-employed electricians “being forced to work through umbrella companies, often in shifts that can run for up to 12 hours a day”.

The union says that while electricians with employee status and on PAYE have traditionally been unionised, the 85,000 that work on a self-employed basis throughout the UK have largely gone unrepresented.

The branch will campaign to improve pay and working conditions of self-employed electricians, fight back against what it sees as de-professionalisation and de-skilling of the sector, including the introduction of 16-week training courses.

The branch will initially welcome members from Greater London, with a view to opening membership to the whole of the UK in future. An inaugural open meeting will be held on 26 July at 6:30pm to discuss strategy, and elect officials and representatives.

Electrician and founding member of the IWGB Electrical Workers Branch Sam McDouall said: “We wanted a union that would fight for the interests of self-employed electricians and wasn’t riddled with bureaucracy, so we turned to the IWGB. We need to fight back against the abuse and de-skilling which is becoming increasingly common in our sector, and through the IWGB we will do just that.”

IWGB general secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “Like the Uber drivers and bicycle couriers that came before them, it is no surprise that self-employed electricians decided to organise through the IWGB. The multiple layers of outsourcing, subcontracting, agencies, umbrella companies and bogus classification as independent contractors necessarily result in the unfair treatment and exploitation of these workers. The IWGB is about to shine a massive spotlight on this nasty industry and start whipping it into shape.”

The Electrical Workers Branch will be the eighth branch of the IWGB. The IWGB is the leading union for migrant workers and workers in the so-called “gig-economy”, having defeated Uber, Addison Lee, CitySprint and several other companies at tribunals. It has also won improved terms and conditions for outsourced workers at several sites and secured the first ever collective bargaining agreement with a gig-economy employer.


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