Unite to announce construction strike ballot timetable
Thousands of construction workers are expected to take unpaid leave and travel to London tomorrow (Wednesday 9 November) to demonstrate over an unprecedented attack on the skills and pay of skilled workers as Unite prepares for a strike ballot at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services.
Unite will announce the date of the strike ballot against Balfour Beatty Engineering Services at tomorrow’s rally.
Unite, the UK’s largest union, is providing coaches from all over the country to bring electricians, plumbers and heating and ventilation engineers to the capital for a national day of protest to defend the skills and pay of thousands of skilled construction workers.
WHEN: Wednesday 9 November 2011, 11:30am
WHERE: The Shard (London Bridge) rally, then a march to Blackfriars station building site for a second rally from 1pm-1.30pm, followed by a march down the Embankment to the House of Commons for a lobby of parliament.
The day of protest and lobby of parliament is over an attack by Balfour Beatty Engineering Services, along with six other leading construction companies, to withdraw from five long-standing agreements and impose new semi-skilled grades with massive cuts in pay.
Unite is balloting Balfour Beatty Engineering Services first as it believes the firm is acting as the `ring-leader' of the break-away employers, with five firms out of the seven threatening to sack workers who refuse to sign the new and inferior contracts by 7 December.
Ahead of the rally Unite's general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Unite’s highly skilled workers in construction are facing an unprecedented attack on skills. If Balfour Beatty and their fellow conspirators get their way eight out of nine workers will lose one third of their pay and will lose any voice they have over their working lives. These employers have threatened to sack any worker who does not sign up to their employers’ ‘charter’.
“But Unite members have shown that they are not going to sign away their future livelihoods. Our members have been demanding a ballot so that they can defend their skills and pay.
“Electricians, who have trained for six years, demand the right to be paid as skilled workers. They have families to support and mortgages to pay and simply cannot afford to hand over a third of their pay to maintain the profits of their bosses."
The national day of protest follows months of demonstrations by thousands of rank-and-file construction workers outside sites up-and-down the country, including at Sellafield, Grangemouth and Ratcliffe power stations; Blackfriars and Kings Cross stations; and Lindsey oil refinery.
What form strike action will take will be announced in due course.