Unite members at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services vote 81% in favour

Electrical workers at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services have voted for official strike action.

Unite members at the contractor’s mechanical and electrical division voted 81% in favour of strike action with 360 voting ‘yes’ and 81 ‘no’.

A spokesperson for the union said it did not intend to publish turnout figures for “strategic reasons” but said it had a sufficient mandate to stage a strike.

Unite national officer, Bernard McAulay, said it was a “resounding result”. He said: “Balfour Beatty Engineering Services need to recognise they do not have the support of their employees.

“Unite therefore calls on Balfour Beatty to immediately engage in discussion with the union to find a sensible solution to this dispute.”

Eight of the industry’s largest electrical contractors – including Balfour Beatty and NG Bailey – have been hit by protests over the past three months, after they agreed to ditch a 40-year-old wage agreement between employers and workers in favour of drawing up a new agreement.

The union will now ballot workers at two of the other breakaway electrical contractors

Unite will be announcing dates for the Balfour Beatty strike action in “due course.”

Blane Judd, chief executive of the HVCA, which has drawn up a proposed new wage agreement for electrical workers with contractors, said: “Unite’s strike mandate was achieved through the use of misleading and unjustified scare tactics.

“We hope that Balfour Beatty’s workers will communicate with their employer to get the facts about the proposed Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) before deciding to strike.

“However, it’s important to remember that the other six companies supporting the BESNA are not affected by this action and are proceeding with their employee consultations.

“We remain confident that the new agreement is the best way to secure jobs, develop skills and compete effectively against foreign firms.”