But contractor says deadline to sign up to new wage proposals ‘not hard and fast’

More than 500 Balfour Beatty electricians missed their employer’s deadline to sign up to controversial new wage proposals yesterday, the contractor has confirmed.

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services said in a statement this morning that 741 out of 1,250 workers affected had signed up to the Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) so far, leaving 509 electricians, about 40% of the workforce, yet to sign.

About 6,000 electricians across the industry are being asked to sign up to BESNA by seven of the industry’s largest electrical contractors.

The BESNA proposals are opposed by union Unite, which organised four consecutive months of protests against the changes last year and is planning to ballot all workers for strike action.

A Balfour Beatty spokesperson said the 9 January deadline “was not a hard and fast deadline” and said the contractor expected more workers to sign up over the next fortnight.

The spokesperson added: “We will take stock and see what the next steps are in a week or two.”

Those that don’t sign up will be invited to “one-on-one meetings to understand their remaining concerns”, the spokesperson added.

The other contractors involved are NG Bailey, T Clarke, Crown House, Gratte Brothers, Shepherd Engineering Services and SPIE Matthew Hall.

Building understands workers at four other contractors have also been given deadlines to sign up to BESNA and that the firms have notified the government of the proposed changes - a legal requirement if a proportion of its workforce may be made redundant.