About 6,000 staff will receive proposed agreement that HVCA helped to draw up

Eight contractors that walked out of the Joint Industry Board wage agreement talks have written to their employees to present an alternative agreement, in a move branded as a bid to “de-unionise” the industry by union Unite.

Blane Judd, chief executive officer of the Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association (HVCA), said about 6,000 staff would receive copies of the proposed agreement, which the HVCA helped to draw up.

While previous agreements governing the pay and conditions of electrical contractors’ workers have been agreed between the industry’s trade federations and the unions, the firms now hope to begin a consultation process directly with their staff. Judd said the process could take up to three months to come to fruition.

Bernard McAuley, Unite’s national secretary for construction, said Unite planned to protest outside the sites of all eight contractors, and at other high-profile sites chosen toattract maximum exposure. He said the union would “demonstrate, and lead this issue”.

The Shard, where a protest was scheduled for 7 September, is one such site, but the protests have now spread beyond London to sites in Newcastle and Manchester.