Balfour Beatty, Crown House and NG Bailey shed jobs as recession hits specialists sector

Construction worker

Three heavyweight mechanical and electrical contractors are getting rid of up to 120 workers’ jobs.

Fresh from the industry’s largest industrial relations dispute for 15 years, Laing O’Rourke subsidiary Crown House, Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES) and NG Bailey are all implementing redundancy programmes.

Crown House is making 50 to 60 workers redundant across Scotland and the north of England. BBES is making 40 operatives redundant - also in Scotland - while NG Bailey is making 22 workers redundant.

The news came as the five trade federations representing the M&E sector agreed to re-enter talks to reform workers’ pay and conditions, after the controversial BESNA proposals - backed by Crown House, BBES, NG Bailey and four other contractors - were derailed in February.

In a separate development, Balfour Beatty confirmed around 25 staff were being made redundant from its highways joint venture Balfour Beatty Mott Macdonald in the south-east of England.

Balfour Beatty said the redundancies at both subsidiaries - which will include frontline staff - were separate to the wider redundancy programme taking place across its construction services division, in which 650 jobs will go.

Up to 10% of Crown House’s 589-strong workforce will be lost, with redundancies set to be made on 7 June.

The redundancy programmes cap off a tough nine months for the M&E sector, which included the collapse of one of its longest-established firms, MJN Colston. The century-old company fell into administration in March, with the loss of almost 250 jobs.

One buyer - Integral - bought part of the firm, saving 50 jobs in Bristol and Bury St Edmunds.