M&E bosses plot next step after Balfour BESNA pull out

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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Stunned M&E bosses will plot their next move at a high-level meeting tomorrow after Balfour Beatty shocked the industry last week by pulling-out of plans to introduce the controversial new BESNA contracts.

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services was one of the leading players in proposals by seven major contractors to introduce the new pay and conditions deal.

Now Balfour’s sudden decision to dump the deal has left the remaining six contractors with a dilemma.

The Enquirer understands leaders of the six – NG Bailey, Crown House, Gratte Brothers, Spie Matthew Hall, Shepherd Engineering Services and T Clarke – will hold talks on Tuesday to thrash out a revised strategy,

Unite is calling on the remaining six firms to follow Balfour’s lead and dump the deal.

One source close to the situation said: “There’s clearly a lot to talk about before we decide the best way forward.

“Everyone is still reeling from Balfour’s decision which came totally out of the blue.”

Backers of BESNA revealed last week that nearly 90% of workers had signed-up to the new deal.

But Balfour workers had voted for strike action against the new arrangements.

The ballot showed that 295 Unite members voted for industrial action with 145 against among the firm’s 3,063 employees.

Balfour unsuccessfully applied to the High Court to have the strike vote overturned.

The firm also faced further problems when US Teamsters boss James Hoffa backed Unite and warned of potential industrial relations problems in America if Balfour introduced BESNA.

The source said: “It seems that the thought of a strike and the threat of trouble in America was enough to give Balfour cold feet.

“The unrest was also spreading to power station plants which was another headache for a firm looking to expand in that sector.”

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