Balfour Beatty U-turn on BESNA working contracts

Aaron Morby 10 years ago
Share

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services has dropped plans to roll out controversial new contracts for building services workers.

The imposition of the new contracts by the firm lay at the heart of a long running dispute, which saw unionised electricians, plumbers, heating and ventilating engineers vote overwhelmingly for strike action twice.

The withdrawal of the contracts follows talks between Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey and Balfour Beatty’s chief executive officer, Mike Peasland.

Unite has now called on the other six building services contractors to follow the lead of Balfour Beatty and withdraw the contracts and the threat of dismissal.

A joint statement issued this morning said: “BBES has agreed to withdraw the BESNA contracts and Unite has agreed not to pursue further industrial action or protest on the basis that wide-ranging talks will now take place on modernising the industry.

“Both parties are committed to high level talks within an agreed timeline with the aim of creating new proposals and ensuring agreed terms are honoured.”

Balfour came under increasing pressure to climbdown after a high court bid to block planned strike action failed earlier this week and high profile demonstrations by rank-and-file workers also spread to engineering construction sites.

The leader of the US Teamsters union James Hoffa also waded into the ongoing dispute this week.

He wrote to Balfour Beatty chief Ian Tyler warning that if the dispute was not resolved to the satisfaction of union colleagues in the UK he would have no option but to demonstrate the Teamsters support.

Balfour was one of seven construction firms who sought to tear up the long-standing Joint Industry Boards agreements and impose a new semi-skilled grade.

Unions claimed the new contracts would have led to pay cuts as a new grade took work from higher paid electricians. But the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association, which aims to oversee the new industry agreement, argues no workers would be worse off.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said: “Balfour Beatty’s decision to withdraw these contracts, the threat of dismissal and to enter high level talks is a welcome move.

“Not only is it a victory for common sense, but is testament to the resolve of hard working construction workers who have stood shoulder to shoulder to defend their livelihoods.

“Continuing to impose these contracts would have resulted in a race to the bottom that would have been bad for the industry.

“We expect the other six construction firms to see sense and follow Balfour Beatty’s lead in talking seriously about securing livelihoods and bringing stability to the industry.”

Latest news

Construction leaders launch inflation busting taskforce

All sides of industry urged to work together rather than row over price hikes
14 hours ago

Track worker killed by train was controller of site safety

Distracted rail worker "lost awareness of his position relative to the line the train approached on"
12 hours ago

MechFS went down owing £9.5m to supply chain

Subcontractors left holding millions in worthless invoices
19 hours ago

HG Construction profit jumps 50% to £25m

Multi-storey homes and student accommodation jobs drive sales to record £243m
19 hours ago

Go-ahead for Newcastle’s largest build to rent project

Work to start on 14-storey flats complex in the autumn
18 hours ago

Contractors wanted for £288m Northumbrian Water frameworks

Ten lots up for grabs under latest major civils deal
19 hours ago

Plans in for 142-room Exeter net zero hotel

RED Construction to build first of hotel developer's planned chain of net zero hotels
18 hours ago

Rail workers vote to strike over maintenance job cuts fears

Network could grind to a halt next month
18 hours ago

Race for £100m Immingham ferry terminal job

AB Ports aims to start work in mid 2023
2 days ago

Sisk wins Stockport £60m Weir Mill restoration

Work to start next month on 250 flats scheme
2 days ago

Developer swoops for 1,000-flats landmark Leeds site

Revised plans to be submitted by the end of the year for start soon after
2 days ago

Dominvs seals £173m funding for 713-bed student job

HG Construction to start major Hammersmith student complex in November
2 days ago

Briefings start for £1bn Midland Mainline Electrification plan

Market engagement starts for next seven sections covering 139km route to Sheffield
2 days ago

Forterra pushes back £27m factory refurb plan

Supply chain shortages hit project as brick prices rose another 12% last month
2 days ago

Speedy Hire results slowed down by KPMG

Hire giant left "frustrated and disappointed" by delay request from auditor
2 days ago

London office starts set to surge over next 6 months

Deloitte Crane Survey predicts jump in starts in Capital despite high building costs
3 days ago

Fit-out firm BW Workplace slips into the red

£5.2m backdated R&D tax credit deal lifts after tax performance
3 days ago

Hinkley Point delayed another year as costs rise by £3bn

Covid blamed for construction delays and cost increases
6 days ago

Competition probe launched into Bouygues’ Equans takeover

Bouygues is hoping to finalise acquisition later this year
3 days ago

TfL seeks developers for trio of over-station sites

Plum sites at Bank, Paddington and Southwark come with consent for 600,000 sq ft
3 days ago

Underwater drone used to check offshore wind farm foundations

Underwater robots deployed for inspection and maintenance work
3 days ago

DfE to unveil plans for school procurement shake-up

Supply chain summit to be held next month in Birmingham on future of schools frameworks
6 days ago

Plan for £100m clifftop hotel and flats in Newquay

Developer Salboy's landmark scheme to go in for planning shortly
6 days ago

Top 30 M&E contractors set for growth – ranking

Major M&E firms prepare for work surge after riding out pandemic
6 days ago

Former Mace boss joins Taylor Wimpey board

Mark Castle takes on another non-exec role
6 days ago

ISG starts £28m duo of Yorkshire leisure centre jobs

Harrogate and Knaresborough leisure centre jobs get underway
6 days ago

HS2 workforce surges to 25,000 jobs milestone

Over 2,500 firms form the HS2 supply chain
6 days ago

Green light for 1.4m sq ft Yorkshire logistic hub

Work at the site, located 24 miles from Leeds city centre, is expected in September.
6 days ago

Contractors lift tender margins to 9% on bids in the Capital

Developer Landsec to press ahead with trio of London office schemes this year despite cost inflation
7 days ago

Fire safety work plunges Countryside to £182m loss

Countryside Partnerships forms dedicated division to handle retrofits on a 123 buildings
7 days ago

Contractor services