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Protest tomorrow over 'semi-skilled workers'

Construction workers will be protesting at Cardiff Hospital tomorrow morning in the next chapter of the ‘semi-skilled worker’ saga.

Trade union Unite says dozens of workers will demonstrate outside the hospital from 6:30am to 8am on Wednesday against seven companies’ withdrawal from the Joint National Board agreement.

Spie Matthew Hall, which is working on a project at Cardiff Hospital, is one of the seven firms that proposed a replacement agreement.

Union members say the new plans will introduce a ‘semi-skilled’ grade of worker and reduce the average wage by up to 35 per cent.

Unite regional officer Graham Smith said: “Skilled craftsmen are angry that their employers are attacking their skills and trying to impose semi-skilled grades into their industry without any negotiation with their unions. Workers have been told: sign new contracts or face the sack.

“Construction workers in Wales cannot afford to take the massive cuts to their pay that these firms are proposing.”

Earlier this month, Balfour Beatty took legal action to stop sections of its workforce striking over the issue.

Unite said it was preparing to re-ballot its members within Balfour Beatty Engineering Services for industrial action. It added that the Cardiff protest was taking place outside work hours to avoid suggestion it was an unofficial strike.

The firms intending to leave the JNB agreement are:

  • Balfour Beatty Engineering Services
  • Bailey Building Services
  • T Clarke
  • Crown House Technologies
  • Gratte Brothers
  • Shepherd Engineering Services
  • SPIE Matthew Hall

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