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Wembley crane drivers hold pay strike ballot

Tower crane operators demand same bonus as steel erectors and Hollandia crane colleagues

TOWER crane operators on the Wembley Stadium project balloted for strike action this week in a bid to snare the same pay bonus structure as the site's steel erectors.

Ballot papers were distributed among the eleven HTC workers on Monday and they have been told to return their votes by tomorrow (Friday).

The workers are calling for parity with the steel erectors and Hollandia-supplied crane operators who take home a bonus of £2.60 an hour - £1.10 more than the HTC Plant staff.

One Wembley crane operator said: 'The lads are feeling very aggrieved. Operators in mobile, track and rubber tyre cranes are on a higher bonus than us and we remain on £1.50.We've been assessed, carried out good work and deserve parity. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the ballot came back unanimously in favour of action.'

The debate dates back to early October when the workers first approached main contractor Multiplex with their concerns. Now, with union support from Amicus, the target is direct employer HTC Plant.

Amicus official Frank Westerman said: 'Until ballot results are back there's little we can say.

But we are hopeful that after the ballot we can sit down with HTC and get it resolved before action is taken.Our members work in cranes that supply the entire site and should be treated equally.'

Should workers elect to strike they will stay off site for a chosen 24-hour period after the ballot result and the drivers are confident they will gain support from other trades.

The site source said: 'We have been told by a number of fellow workers that they won't cross a picket that we form.'

Amicus has advised non-striking members to continue working should action be taken because failure to cross a picket would be considered illegal secondary action.