Electricians Fighting To Keep JIB Agreement

by Editor on January 21, 2012

This article highlights some main points of the recent dispute over electrician’s pay and working conditions. Decisions that are made now between the unions will affect electricians for years to come.

I got the email below from David W and wanted to pass on his sentiments. I’ve also included some background info on the dispute for anyone who’s not aware of the recent history.

Although I’m not a union member myself, I am an electrician and believe that we deserve the right rate of pay for an often very difficult and responsible job. Even when it comes to pricing work and competing with other electrical contractors it’s important not to devalue the training and experience we have and the knowledge, skills and services we offer to customers.

Here’s David’s email:


Electricians are demonstrating all over the country to keep the JIB agreement and not sign the new proposed BESNA
agreement proposed by the largest Electrical contractors in the country.

Wages for electricians are at an all time low agencies offering 10 to 12 pounds an hour for a JIB APPROVED ELECTRICIAN  with 17th edition and 2391 C&G if BESNA comes in you can expect to be working for 10 pounds an hour for installing conduit,tray, trunking etc
Do your members know that?

Thanks David. I hope this article helps get readers informed- Steve

Here are the key players and points in the dispute:

JIB, HVAC and the ECA

The Joint Industry Board (JIB) sets standards for training, competence and terms and conditions of employment for the electrical industry.

For many years the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA ) and the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) and  have worked together within the JIB electrical industry wages agreement.


Talks to make changes to the agreement at the end of 2010 broke down with several large companies pulling away from the joint agreement and saying they would leave the JIB. The ECA have been trying to resolve disagreements and keep the National JIB wages agreement. But so far they have been unsuccessful.

A new breakaway aggreement has been formed by the HVAC which would break down the distinction between pay and conditions for electrical and mechanical workers.


The Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) is a new national agreement for mechanical, electrical and plumbing workers.
BESNA is being introduced by the HVCA on behalf of those significant major electrical contracting companies which are in dispute with the JIB.

Concerns and What They Say…


Many electricians and union members claim that employees will have their wages cut and workers will be blacklisted following the introduction of BESNA.


The HVCA chief executive Blane Judd said: “The claims by the Unite union that the new proposed agreement will lead to what it calls massive pay cuts and workers heading for the sack are total fiction”.

HVAC also comment: “The Building Engineering Services industry has changed significantly in the last 20 years and we must respond to our customers’ needs. Modern construction methods have changed considerably and there is now increased overlap between disciplines with multi-skilled teams often required. The industry needs an agreement that reflects changes in these working practices”.

HVCA response to protest at Carrington Paper Mill

October 26, 2011

The protest today at Carrington is disappointing and the actions of the protesters made it difficult for hard-working men and women to get on with their work.

It is utterly untrue for these protesters to claim that employees will have their wages cut and workers will be blacklisted following the introduction of a new building engineering services national agreement.

In addition, no-one will lose their jobs as a result of the changes that eight employers including Balfour Beatty Engineering Services are proposing to make, nor be downgraded through a process of de-skilling.
More BESNA info http://www.besna.info/

Have your say…

My Local Electrician

For those who don’t know, the Joint Industry Board (JIB) which has been operating since March 1968 create a unique benefit package for electricians which includes setting industry standards and improving relations between employer and employee.It is controlled by the ECA and Union Unite…  Read more

Comments from Electricians Forums

It might already be too late boys, however, I believe that whilst we still have time we should be texting /phoning /emailing and talking to as many electricians, union members and non union members to get everyone on-board and fighting this attack on our working conditions and wages!!! Put simply ALL sparks need to join the union right now and demand that the JIB/SJIB agreements are maintained as this is the ONLY viable means with which to mount a defense of our T&C’s!!! Come on boys……start fighting for your working rights and your families standard of living or suffer the consequences of greedy/selfish/short-sighted company policies… Read more

Hi lads its the first time iv posted but im one of the lads from BBES who recieved this letter on friday. As far as im concerned it stinks to high heaven. Does this mean that an electrician is now going to be graded as an installer at £9 ph????? Asda or Morrisons beckons boys unless we fight. I was apprentice trained by Haden Young but since the merger, the firm at management level is completely run by… Read more

But I tell you who has divided the workforce the most, it is Unite and my view is also puts the JIB at the core of this also. Why not get around the table and stay around the table with the HVCA. Why not, if you agree that maybe changes are required, negotiate from a position of strength… Read more

Have you been involved in the dispute?       What are your views?

Please leave your comments below.

Electrician’s Blog.co.uk

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Eugeneson @ rbilv April 27, 2012 at 11:47

This is really nice info. Loads of ups and downs have been experienced in the last two decades in the Building engineering services. These changes are important for they carry new features. This has surely increased the competition which is the cause of so many clamors. Keep sharing it.

DAVID WINTHROPE January 27, 2012 at 14:38

PLEASE SEE http://www.jibelectrician.blogspot.com regarding besna AND SIGN THE PETITION

DAVID WINTHROPE January 27, 2012 at 13:38

Attention all electricians
sign the goverment pettion now against BESNA

DAVID WINTHROPE January 27, 2012 at 13:35

The UK’s seven major electrical contractors at the centre of one of the construction sector’s largest industrial relations disputes for over a decade plan to employ fewer skilled workers under a controversial new wage agreement.

The admission – from sources behind the Building and Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) on pay and conditions – is likely to increase tensions with workers.

Building understands the contractors want to employ fewer NVQ3 level electricians and more workers at a new “installer” grade, paid at £11.89 an hour rather than £14.83.

Blane Judd, chief executive of the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA), which helped draw up the BESNA, confirmed the contractors planned to employ proportionally fewer skilled workers to “rebalance” their workforces.

Union Unite said the plans would “deskill” the electrical sector.

The HVCA said the move was commercially necessary and all of the employers “have given their guarantee that they will not downgrade their [current] workforce” to the “installer” grade.

The firms have argued that fewer skilled electricians are needed on site because of the rise in pre-fabricated construction methods and that out-dated wage agreements mean international competitors undercut prices.

About 6,000 workers have been asked to sign up to BESNA by the first week of April or face redundancy.

Unite has vowed to ballot the workers at BESNA firms – Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES), NG Bailey, T Clarke, Crown House, Gratte Brothers, Shepherd Engineering Services and SPIE Matthew Hall – for strike action before the changes come into force.

A spokesperson for the contractors said 70% of their workers had so far signed up to the wage agreement.

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