Construction workers protest in Glasgow

6 Dec

Construction workers will be protesting outside Balfour Beatty Engineering Services’ Head Office in Glasgow on Wednesday, 7th December over the de-skilling and pay cuts being imposed by a group of rogue construction firms, Unite, the UK’s largest union, has learnt.

The protest is part of a national day of action by hundreds of workers who are angry by an attempt to de-skill their industry and a move by seven companies, led by Balfour Beatty Engineering Services and Spie Matthew Hall to tear up five long-standing industrial agreements and impose new contracts.

Over 50 construction workers will be staging their protest outside BBES’s Head Office, Lumina Building, Hillington Industrial Estate, Glasgow at 7am. BBES has been targeted as Unite believes it is the ring-leader of the group leading construction companies, intending to withdraw from five long-standing agreements and impose new semi-skilled grades resulting in massive cuts in pay. The attack will hit electricians, plumbers and heating and ventilating engineers working at sites around Wales.

Unite regional officer, Rab Sherry said: “Skilled craftsmen are angry that their employers are attacking their skills and trying to impose semi-skilled grades into their industry without any negotiation with their unions. Workers have been told, sign new contracts of face the sack.

“Construction workers in the Scotland cannot afford to take massive pay cuts that these firms are proposing.”

Unite is preparing to re-ballot its members in Balfour Beatty Engineering Services for industrial action. Unite members voted by over 80 per cent for strike action at BBES, but rather than listen to the voice of their workers BBES used anti-union balloting laws to challenge Unite ballot.

Unite will announce the dates of the re-ballot in BBES in due course. The union also intends to ballot two of the other companies involved in the dispute.

The protest outside BBES head office is not a call for unofficial strike action by Unite. It is Unite’s understanding that those involved in the demonstrations are doing so outside of work hours to avoid any suggestion that this is unofficial strike action.

ENDS
The seven major break-away contractors currently involved are: Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Limited; N G Bailey Building Services; Crown House Technologies; Gratte Brothers; 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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