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T5 strikers face 100 lay- offs as job tails off

NEWS - Further three-day stoppage by Laing O'Rourke workforce as they snub last-minute bonus offer

LAING O'Rourke is preparing to send out redundancy notices at Heathrow's T5 as Britain's biggest building site was hit by another three-day strike.

The firm will be looking to lay off around 100 employees as work winds down on its civils package.

The news came as O'Rourke's 928 workers staged a three-day stoppage from Tuesday in their row over bonus payments. The firm met union leaders and shop stewards on Monday night in a bid to head off the strike. But the workforce rejected an improved offer despite it being recommended to them by officials from the GMB, T&G and Ucatt.

Workers have demanded an extra £1 an hour in bonus payments and turned down previous offers of 22p and 67p.

An O'Rourke source said: 'I don't know what their game is now ? we offered them virtually everything they wanted on Monday night and they threw it back in our face.' It is believed the last-ditch offer was for an extra 80p an hour in bonus payments and £600 per man to cover back pay since the row started.

A site vote last Friday saw 600 workers approve a strike against 161 in favour of accepting the 67p offer.

GMB construction organiser Tom Kelly said: 'O'Rourke dismissed the first vote and said it was not representative. They were wrong to do so.

'An offer which would increase overall pay by 3.3 per cent, with the bonus not changed for three years, has not been enough to resolve the dispute.' O'Rourke and airport operator BAA are confident the stoppages will not delay work on the job.

The O'Rourke source said: 'Some parts of the job are well ahead of schedule and where things are tighter they can always catch up.

'The job is winding down so we will be looking for redundancies and will be looking for around 100 shortly.' A BAA spokeswoman said: 'We are disappointed this hasn't been resolved but O'Rourke is coming towards the end of its contract and only has about 15 per cent to go.' n See Agenda, page 12

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