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Industrial relations

2004 REVIEW

DESPITE fears of widespread industrial unrest across sites in 2004, more jobs were closed down by campaigning fathers protesting up cranes than by striking workers.

The potential for a strike by 45,000 local authority building workers has been bubbling under the surface ever since employers tried to limit pay increases to 7 per cent over three years.

Construction union Ucatt has said this pay boost should be achieved in just 12 months.The next stage of the negotiations to avoid the strike is set to conclude just before Christmas.

If industrial action cannot be avoided the council building workers will be following in the footsteps of those at the Prison Service.

Maintenance staff walked out of more than 130 prisons nationwide for 48 hours in early September over a 1 per cent pay rise offer.

Meanwhile the Naeci 'blue book' pay and conditions that cover engineers in the sector also caused a rumpus with both real and threatened strikes.Workers at both Terminal 5 and Wembley both voted for strikes but backed down following an increased pay offer.

But June did see an unofficial seven-day strike by repair and maintenance workers at Aberthaw Power Station in south Wales, which ended when main contractor Mitsui Babcock and subcontractors Hertel and Cape agreed to union demands.