The decision is the first industrial action to hit the consulting sector in two years of heavy corporate restructuring and redundancies.
Amey’s management have tabled a 2% pay offer to the 1500-strong workforce involved to settle the 2011 pay round, and a back-dated sweetener after last year’s pay negotiations also failed to reach a settlement.
But officials at professional transport union, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, have rejected the offer and called on engineering staff to take industrial action.
Engineers plan limited strike action this Friday afternoon and Monday morning as well as introducing a continuous overtime ban.
Picket lines are planned at Amey’s offices in Swindon, Bristol, Birmingham and York.
The complex row over pay and collective bargaining rights affects engineers involved in Amey’s national Civil Examination Framework Agreement and the Inter-Urban business covering track renewals for Network Rail.
TSSA regional organiser Alan Valentine said: “It’s a derisory offer that fails to recognise the hard efforts of our members, especially given the 20% bonus given to senior management in 2010.
“Feedback from members shows they are very unhappy about the offers on the table and where possible they will go out on strike to seek a better offer from the company.”
It is the first time in this downturn that engineers at a major consultant have decided to take strike action over pay.
A spokesman for Amey said: “Amey is currently in ongoing discussions with its collectively bargained rail employees and their union representatives.
“Amey aims to be a fair and equitable employer and our focus is on balancing long-term job security whilst ensuring we maintain a competitive cost base. We are continuing dialogue with union representatives to resolve this situation.”
Staff at Amey Consulting voted in favour of possible strike action earlier this year, while those at Inter-Urban give a mandate for industrial action short of a strike.
The dispute is complicated by recent big changes in Network Rail’s procurement startegy. This saw Amey take control of all of Network Rail’s regional asset assessment programme from Mouchel and Atkins.
Amey Inter-Urban also formed a joint venture with Colas to carry out a £250m programme of track renewals, which saw workers switched between both companies under TUPE with the promise they would not be worse off.
Valentine said: “Some members are now working alongside Colas colleagues who have received a better pay offer and they are understandably very unhappy.”