The Unite union has today given Balfour Beatty Engineering Services notice of its intention to ballot over 1,000 members employed at the firm for strike action over proposed contractual changes, which the union said would see thousands of workers’ pay cut by one third.
The ballot opens on 16 November. If members vote in favour of the action, it could impact on infrastructure schemes such as Crossrail and power stations, the union said. Strike action would potentially include electricians, plumbers and heating and ventilating engineers, it added.
Balfour Beatty said the contractual changes would not lead to any pay cuts (see box below).
The ballot closes on 29 November. The timing of any strike days and where action would take place would be decided by shop stewards at a later date.
Balfour Beatty’s response
Balfour Beatty issued the following statement today:
“Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES) remain committed to the Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association (HVCA) and the introduction of the Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) which will introduce one consistent set of terms and conditions for electrical, mechanical and plumbing operatives who are currently employed under a number of existing industry agreements.
“We believe that by implementing the new agreement we will create a more modern structure, better able to respond to the market place and to safeguard employment, without eroding the terms and conditions of our employees. No employee will have their wages cut, electricians will earn the same rate under the BESNA and mechanical and plumbing operatives will see an increase in their hourly rate to create a level playing field.
“The UK construction industry is under pressure to increase efficiency, to improve productivity and to minimise costs. We are in the process of consulting with our workforce on the proposed introduction of the BESNA, this process includes providing the opportunity for our employees to ask questions to fully understand the detail and benefits of a single agreement for BBES and the industry as a whole.”