Edinburgh construction workers protest over 30% pay cut plan

20 Sep

Construction workers, who face up to 30 per cent pay cuts because rogue employers are tearing up long held Scottish national agreements, will be demonstrating outside Edinburgh City Council on Thursday, 22 September between 9am – 11am.

Dozens of workers, members of the country’s largest trade union, Unite, will be staging their protest outside Edinburgh City Council on the day the council meets to confirm its decision to award the new Portobello High School building contract to Balfour Beatty, one of the eight employers behind the breakaway move.

The focus of their anger are plans by Balfour Beatty and another seven breakaway construction companies, which are imposing semi-skilled grades into the mechanical and electrical sector in Scotland.

Unite regional officer, Scott Foley said: ‘Our members in Edinburgh are furious about this attack by these so-called reputable companies aimed at reducing our members’ income by up to a third.’

 ‘The companies are trying to bulldoze their plans through by ripping long-standing Scottish national agreements without any negotiation.’

 ‘These rogue employers should pull back from the brink as their brutal onslaught on workers’ skills, pay, and terms and conditions is causing widespread anger among workers.’

Workers in five of the eight breakaway companies have been written to by their managers with a stark choice – sign new contracts on much inferior pay, and terms and conditions or face the sack on 7 December.

The employers want to withdraw from five long-held agreements and replace them with a new agreement which will allow employers to introduce semi-skilled grades and dictate rather than negotiate on pay, holiday entitlement, overtime, and what constitutes away work.

But five of the eight have upped the stakes. Balfour Beatty, Crown House Technologies, Spie Matthew Hall, Shepherd Engineering Services and NG Bailey have issued Unite with legal notice of their intention to dismiss, with notice, thousands of employees before re-engaging them on new inferior contracts.

ENDS 

Note to news editors:

For further information, please contact Unite communication officer, Liane Groves on 07793 661657 Scott Foley Regional Officer, 07810 157 915

The eight major break-away contractors currently involved are:

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Limited; N G Bailey Building Services; Crown House Technologies; Gratte Brothers; MJN Colston Limited; Spie Matthew Hall; Shepherd Engineering Services (SES); and T.Clarke Plc.

Unite has been told by these major employers that they will no longer be party to the following agreements:  SJIB (Scottish Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry); JIB (Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry); SNIJIB (Scottish and Northern Ireland Joint Industry Board for the Plumbing Industry); JIB-PMES (Joint Industry Board for Plumbing Mechanical Engineering Services in England and Wales); HVAC (National Agreement for the Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, Piping and Domestic Engineering Industry); MPA (Major Projects Agreement).

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