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HTC Plant director 'upset' after union members vote for strike

HTC Plant’s director and general manager Dave Holder has expressed his “surprise and upset” after workers rejected a pay offer in favour of strike action.

Ucatt members at HTC Plant have voted in favour of strike action in a dispute with their employer over pay.

The construction workers’ union said crane divers at HTC had experienced several pay freezes since 2008, and that during negotiations HTC had “failed to table an offer which was even close to the expectations of Ucatt members”.

Mr Holder told Construction News it had offered a 3 per cent pay increase this year, followed by a further 3 per cent increase in 2015, and the reinstatement of benefits that were scrapped to “help the company through the recession”.

He said the increases would have put crane operators’ pay “very, very close” to pre-recession levels, and added that he was “quite surprised and genuinely upset” that Ucatt members had rejected the deal.

He declined to comment on whether HTC Plant would offer a greater increase to avoid strike action, but said he was “always happy to sit down and talk with Ucatt”.

Ucatt said 180 crane operators voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action and 94.6 per cent in favour of some form of industrial action short of striking, with the preferred action to be confirmed.

Ucatt said sites that would be affected by the strike action include Crossrail, the London Bridge redevelopment, Land Securities’ Nova scheme in Victoria and Lend Lease’s Elephant and Castle regeneration, with Bam, Costain, Kier, Mace and Vinci among the contractors that would be affected.

A Crossrail spokesman said the proposed strike action “is not expected to have any impact on Crossrail’s construction as HTC’s presence on the Crossrail project is currently limited”.

In response, a Ucatt spokesman said: “It would be a surprise if nothing needed lifting on a construction site. If lifting is needed then the strike will have an effect.”

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