MORE than 900 civil engineering workers at Heathrow's T5 were due to vote on a pay offer yesterday (Wednesday) designed to head off threats of Christmas strikes.
The deal was first put to union leaders representing the Laing O'Rourke workers last week and bosses at the firm are confident the operatives will accept. But as Construction News went to press opposition to the offer was growing.
And calls for extra money were set to spread to other parts of the site with talks beginning between the unions and Amec over its 420strong workforce.
Three dates have already been identified for industrial action in December over the bonus payments row.
Workers were demanding an extra £1 an hour on top of their guaranteed bonus to compensate for extra travelling time on the job.
The O'Rourke offer being voted on yesterday was for an extra 22p to bring the guaranteed hourly bonus up to £2.30.
A company source said: 'The men got an extra 78p an hour in their basic as part of the annual settlement and this 22p will bring that up to £1 an hour on the bonus.
'That ensures they remain the highest paid workers at T5 and in the industry.' But one site source said: 'O'Rourke wanted us to sign forms to agree to the offer before the meeting but the lads refused to do that. It was a good show of solidarity.' Unions also pressed claims for the £1-an-hour bonus with Amec on Tuesday.
Ucatt, TGWU and GMB held talks with Amec's head of human resources Steve McGuire. Amec has around 420 men on the job.
One union source said: 'We are not setting out for a row but we are looking for parity with other trades on the site.'