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Balfour Beatty workers in bid to save Northampton office

Exclusive: Balfour Beatty is in consultation over proposals to close its regional civil engineering office in Northampton, which employs 120 staff.

But Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering workers have launched a counter-proposal calling for management to look again in more detail at the value their branch can bring to the business.

The consultation at the Northampton Business Park base comes after a review of the regional business and a £50m profit warning in April.

A spokesperson stressed that the Northampton office is in a different situation to three other proposed office closures announced earlier this week, in Dartford, Rochdale and Doncaster.

She said: “We can confirm that we have opened up consultation with employees around closure of our Northampton office.

“We have since received a counter-proposal from employees which does not involve closure. The business is currently considering this proposal.

“As we are in consultation with employees around this counter-proposal it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Any changes to the Northampton office will not impact the £230m Northamptonshire County Council lighting PPP contract it won in 2011, she confirmed.

The contractor announced plans to close offices in Dartford, Rochdale and Doncaster on Monday, which each employ between 50 and 90 staff.

The Dartford office was said to be experiencing a “combination of insufficient construction activity and a disproportionately high cost base”.

Those changes were announced alongside the appointment of former Lend Lease boss Nick Pollard as the new chief executive of the UK construction business.

The firm also continues to address specific operational issues across a “handful of projects” in the South-west.

Group chief executive Andrew McNaughton said last month that the root of the profit warning was a problematic transition after last year’s restructure, which saw it realigned into three business streams by January 2013.

UK construction chief executive Mike Peasland is now leading the regional business following the departure of Steve Waite in April.

As part of a major UK restructure last year, which saw the UK business moved into three business streams and four regional hubs, Balfour Beatty announced it was closing 35 offices and shedding 650 back office staff.

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