Heathrow workers hold out for original demand of £25 a day but compromise figure could be negotiated.

The M&E pay deal at Heathrow Terminal 5 has been thrown into confusion after workers turned down a deal on travel pay.

Nearly 300 workers rejected an offer of £7 a day from employers in a ballot last week. They are asking for £25.

A panel made up of unions and employers ruled that the workers should be given travel pay under the Major Projects Agreement. The amount of that allowance is now the subject of negotiation.

The electricians are demanding a figure more in line with that received by building workers employed by Laing O’Rourke.

M&E contractors on the site, which include Crown House, Balfour Kilpatrick and Amec, already face big bills because of the original ruling.

Client BAA is understood to have backed away from allocating any additional funds to compensate firms for the travel pay. Meanwhile, the contractors are understood to be furious with the employers’ representatives on the panel for agreeing to the initial claim.

One project source said he expected a compromise on money to be agreed in the near future.

He said: “However, this deal creates an awkward precedent. The industrial relations and pay for T5 for the M&E sector was agreed by unions and employers in an over-arching deal, but it is now clear it is not watertight and paves the way for a host of other claims.”

One M&E contractor warned that the travel pay deal could cost millions of pounds once the site was fully manned. He said: “It is up to the unions to act responsibly and advise workers that £25 a day travel pay and any other proposed pay demands are not realistic.”