Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Unite calls for Balfour Beatty strikes

Balfour Beatty staff are being reballoted for a strike in an escalation of a dispute between the company and its electrical engineers.

The union Unite, will ballot its members next week over changes to a 40-year old wage structure which bosses regard as outdated.

In a statement, the union said: “Unite, the UK’s largest union, has today announced its plan to re-ballot members employed at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES) for strike action over the employer-led attacks on the skills and pay of workers in the sector.”

It is the second time members have been asked to down tools, after 81% voted in favour of a strike in November last year. The union was forced to backtrack then over alleged irregularities.

The dispute centres around proposals to ditch the existing wage agreement in favour of a new set of conditions known as the Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA).

Bosses at BBES, as well as those of seven other contractors, believe BESNA is essential for securing jobs and modernising the M&E industry.
Unite claims the new conditions amount to an “emnployers charter on an unwuilling workforce.”

Unite national officer, Bernard McAuley, said: “Unite members made it abundantly clear that they do not agree with their employer’s imposition when they voted for strike action by an overwhelming 80 per cent in our last ballot.

“If BBES prefers to use anti-union laws and imposition, the company will continue to alienate the workforce rather than find a solution to the issues facing the industry.”

In a statement, BBES said a plurality of its employees understood and accepted the conditions. The statement said: “BBES is disappointed Unite has announced another strike ballot at this time


We have had 850 employees sign and return their contracts to date, a figure which is increasing daily. With 83.5% of our Building Services business now signed up it is clear that our employees understand the importance of the BESNA to our business, securing jobs and modernising our industry.”

“BBES would urge Unite to reconsider its position with regard to the strike ballot announced today and re engage in useful dialogue regarding the implementation of the BESNA through ACAS. We would also encourage Unite to listen to the clear message being sent by the majority of BBES employees who have already signed and returned their BESNA contracts.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.