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AEEU boss takes charge in bid to break talks deadlock

ELECTRICAL and engineering union AEEU general secretary Ken Jackson is stepping in to try and solve troubled pay talks with electrical bosses.

Talks hit the rocks last week when a deal with the Electrical Contractors' Association recommended by the union was rejected by members.

The sparks rejected a pay rise of 28 per cent over three years, more flexible working conditions and the introduction of a new skilled mechanical assembler (SMA) pay grade.

Mr Jackson is taking over from Wyn Bevan, who led the original negotiating team for the union. Mr Bevan has decided to take early retirement.

Union negotiator Danny Carrogan said he hoped a new deal could be thrashed out and approved by members early in the New Year. He said: 'We have told our members that we will accept the outcome of the ballot. The proposals that we submitted to them are now off the table and we are wanting to start afresh.'

But shop steward Tony Miller warned that the most contentious part of the deal, the introduction of the new grade, was not welcome in the new deal.

He said: 'If the SMA comes back on the table we will be going on strike again. As far as we are concerned we will not accept anything along those lines again. We want a straight one-year deal with a reasonable pay rise.'

The ECA wants to see the new pay grade introduced to combat skills shortages.