Action expected before December over 6,000 workers’ pay and conditions

Union Unite is preparing to ballot electrical workers for strike action over proposed changes to their pay and conditions.

The strike is being organised in response to eight electrical contractors ditching a 40-year old wage agreement, known as the Joint Industry Board (JIB) agreement, between employers and workers in favour of drawing up a new agreement.

Bernard McAuley, Unite’s national secretary for construction, said workers were currently being consulted on the strike plans with a view to a action before December.

In a fifth week of protests, demonstrations took place on Wednesday at MediaCityUK in Salford, Farringdon Station in London and the Newcastle University building site in Percy Street, Newcastle.

More protests are planned for Lindsey Oil Refinery, Lincolnshire (26th Sept), Kings Cross Station, London (28th Sept), Velodrome, Glasgow (28th Sept) and Park House on Oxford Street, London (5th Oct).

About 6,000 workers were put on notice earlier this month by the breakaway firms – which include Balfour Beatty and NG Bailey – and given until 7 December to sign up to the proposed new Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) or face redundancy.

McAuley said: “This (BESNA) agreement undermines our members’ terms and conditions and we are not going to support it.”

McAuley claimed the contractors recognised they needed a change of approach and the union was continuing to negotiate with the firms.