Employers are split down the middle over whether to agree a pay deal for 500,000 construction workers, CN understands.
The latest meeting of the 2012 Construction Industry Joint Council pay talks took place last week, with agreement yet to be reached between unions and employers.
Construction union Ucatt has called for calm from workers, but promised that if a negotiated settlement cannot be reached “they would not flinch from taking appropriate action”.
The CIJC is the largest construction industry agreement covering the pay and terms of conditions of up to 500,000 workers.
It sees unions including Ucatt and Unite around the table with nine employers’ associations, such as the UK Contractors Group, Civil Engineering Contractors Association, the Home Builders Federation, along with the National Access Scaffolding Confederation, the National Association of Shopfitters and the Painting & Decorating Association.
After the first meeting, employers refused a pay rise, saying industry faces more cutbacks, redundancies and liquidations – and companies are trading at negative margins “just to try and stay afloat”. The talks were adjourned until last week.
CN understands there is now a split between the larger employers, who are in favour of a deal, and the bodies representing smaller firms.
The union would not provide any details on the threat of “appropriate action”, or whether the hard core is attempting to emulate the protests seen over reforms to the M&E sector through the Building Engineering Services National Agreement(Besna).
Steve Murphy, general secretary of construction union UCATT, said: “There is growing anger among construction workers about low pay. The employers must return to the negotiating table with a decent pay offer.”
A further pay negotiation meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday (26 June).
The council agreed a pay increase of 1.5 per cent last year.