Fears rise of site protests as pay talks break down

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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Union leaders are appealing for calm on site after pay talks covering 500,000 construction workers broke down again yesterday as the employers refused to budge from their opening offer of a wages freeze.

The talks were hit by a lobby from rank-and-file construction workers who waged a successful campaign to block reforms of the M&E sector.

One industrial relations expert said: “The rank-and-file movement already has one victory under its belt with the BESNA campaign and could be spoiling for another fight.”

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of construction union Ucatt, said: “The delay by the employers in even making a pay offer is simply unacceptable.

“There is growing anger among construction workers about low pay. The employers must return to the negotiating table with a decent pay offer.”

John Allott, National Officer for Unite, said: “Employers are making a mistake if they think that construction workers will accept a pay freeze. This agreement has fallen behind other construction agreements due to previous below inflation pay increases.”

A further pay negotiation meeting has now been scheduled for Tuesday 26 June.

Union negotiators called on construction workers to remain calm despite their growing anger at the employers continued refusal to make a pay offer.

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