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Sparks protest expected at ECA dinner

Around 100 electricians are set to protest at the entrance to the Electrical Contractors Association gala dinner in London tomorrow night.

The sparks are angry at attempts by seven M&E contractors to replace historical JIB pay and conditions with the new BESNA deal.

Critics of the new agreement say it will see electricians’ pay packets diminish by around 35%.

One electrician planning to attend the protest at the Grosvenor House Hotel, said some of the protestors were likely to turn up in tuxedos and seek entry to the event.

“The contractors are planning to take food out of our children’s mouths and they are in there drinking champagne and patting themselves on the back. We want to show them exactly how we feel about that,” he said.

More than 1,000 guests are expected at the event, including Ken Livingstone, the former London mayor, who will give a speech.

Steve Bratt, ECA chief executive said: “We have heard that there may be protests at our Annual Dinner. It is unfortunate that ECA is being caught up in this, as the argument is not with us, but with HVCA as architects of the proposed BESNA agreement.

“With so many conflicting reports flying around, it is hardly surprising that there is general confusion as to who is to blame. The fact is, the people they wish to petition will not be at the ECA Annual Dinner as they are part of the breakaway group in favour of the BESNA agreement as opposed to the JIB agreement, which ECA and the rest of our colleagues in the Building Services sector are working hard to modernise. This is yet further evidence that the proposed BESNA agreement put forward by HVCA is causing anger, bad feeling and confusion in the industry.”

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