UK’s largest crane operator tables improved pay offer

Ucatt has called off this Friday’s planned crane operator strike, which threatened to disrupt building sites across the country, following the submission of an improved pay package proposal by HTC Plant.

The crane hiring company’s managing director Dave Holder told Building the crane operator tabled an improved pay offer to Ucatt at a meeting between the two parties today.

The dispute had centred on HTC’s recent offer of a 3% pay rise to its crane operators, which Ucatt said failed to make up for pay freezes during the recession. 

The amended offer, which will now be considered by Ucatt’s members, covers the next two years, but HTC and Ucatt declined to confirm what percentage increase has now been offered. Holder described the meeting as ‘broadly hopeful.”

A Ucatt insider said: “A new and improved offer has been made. As a result we are calling off the strike planned for November 14 while we ballot our members.”

But he added the suspension of action only applied to this Friday’s proposed walk-out and not to the subsequent strike planned for a week later on 21 November.

While Holder said the strike had had less impact than expected because many cranes would have been out of action anyway due to strong winds, the one-day walk-out had “concentrated minds.”

Ucatt had warned in the run up to today’s meeting that 70 construction sites across the UK face a second day of strike action on Friday unless crane operator HTC Plant significantly improved its pay offer.

Approximately 180 crane operators took part in last Friday’s strike.

Update 13/11/14: The result of the Ucatt ballot will be announced on Tuesday (18 November). HTC is hopeful that the next planned stirke on 21 November will be retracted on Wednesday (19 November).

HTC said of the improved offer: “The offer is innovative and has a different rationale from all previous offers, and as a result we believe that it manages to balance both parties’ legitimate long term aspirations along with securing operator resources for a number of years to come.”