Members of the country’s biggest union, Unite, working at BBES, voted yes to strike action by a resounding 81 per cent, over the unprecedented attack that will see mass de-skilling and huge pay cuts across the industry.
Unite intends to re-ballot Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES), along with two other companies, which have threatened to pull out of long standing collective agreements and sack their workers who do not sign up to inferior contracts.
Unite national officer, Bernard McAulay said: “BBES is aware that over 80 per cent of Unite members who returned their ballot papers, voted in favour of strike action. Our members have taken this step because of their deep concerns over the proposals by their employer to de-skill their industry.
“But rather than listen and return to the negotiating table, BBES have chosen to hide behind draconian ballot laws and challenge the democratic voice of BBES employees by quoting concerns, as to whether they have been advised of the correct name of workplaces and concerns, as to whether a handful of staff employees received ballot papers.
“It is the experience of Unite that once members have had the courage to vote for strike action they will not be discouraged by an employer who refuses to engage with the workers, but would rather engage the service of expensive lawyers.
“Clearly, BBES values the skills of their lawyers more than the skills of their workforce.
“We now have a window of opportunity for BBES to talk with us. In fact, Unite contacted Acas to seek its help in bringing a negotiated settlement to this dispute.
“However, if BBES continue on their path of imposition and Unite is forced to re-ballot, then we have no doubt, our members will again vote overwhelmingly for strike action. This dispute will not be resolved until BBES recognises the legitimate concerns of our members."
Unite will announce the dates of the re-ballot with BBES and the next two employers in due course