Scottish construction workers continue protest as Unite prepares to send out ballot papers

12 Jan

Construction workers in Scotland will continue their protest tomorrow (Friday, 13 January) and Monday (16 January) over the de-skilling and pay cuts being imposed by a group of rogue construction firms.

Up to 100 construction workers, working for Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES), will be staging their protest outside Grangemouth oil refinery at 6.30am as BBES is a major contractor on site.

Workers from NG Bailey will stage their demonstration at 6.30am on Monday (16 January). This action will take place outside Aberdeen Royal Infirmary as NG Bailey is a major contractor working on projects at the hospital.

Unite, Scotland’s largest union,  is currently preparing to send out ballot papers to its members in BBES for industrial action. This ballot follows Balfour Beatty’s failure to step back from imposing contractual changes which will see thousands of workers’ wages cut by a third.

BBES is being balloted first as Unite believes the firm is acting as the ‘ring-leader’ of the break-away employers, with five firms out of the seven threatening to sack workers who refuse to sign the new and inferior contracts. Two further companies will also soon be balloted in the next phase of Unite’s fight to defend its members.

Unite regional officer, Rab Sherry said: “What these firms are proposing is a serious attack on the livelihoods of construction workers who cannot afford to lose a third of their income.

“If these companies get away with de-skilling the industry and slashing the pay of the workers, our members won’t be able to pay their mortgages or earn a living wage to support their families.”


For further information contact Rab Sherry on 07904 057405 or Ashraf Choudhury in the Unite Press Office on 07980 224761 or 020 3371 2061.

Notes to news editors:

In May 2011, BBES, along with six other leading construction companies, informed Unite of its intention 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 Scotland, including the Vellodrome in Glasgow and Grangemouth power station.

The seven major break-away contractors currently involved are: Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Limited; NG Bailey Building Services; Crown House Technologies; Gratte Brothers; Spie Matthew Hall; Shepherd Engineering Services (SES); and T. Clarke Plc.

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