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Unite warns HTC crane firm of raising industrial tensi...

Unite warns HTC crane firm of raising industrial tensions in crane dispute

25 July 2017

Unite, UK’s largest construction union, has warned that the management of HTC Wolffkran is unnecessarily increasing industrial tensions, after the company issued a press release which distorted the information concerning the ongoing pay dispute.

The company has claimed that it is ‘disappointed’ that Unite is currently balloting for strike action, following the suspension of pay talks. However Unite only began balloting for strike action after the company broke off negotiations and the company’s director and general manager Dave Holder, rejected a private meeting.

The company also claims that pay has increased on average by £7,689.22 since 2013, however it fails to mention that these increase, only returned workers to the level of pay they received prior to the recession in 2008, with the workforce experiencing pay cuts between 2008-2010.

HTC Wolffkran has also criticised Unite for tabling a 10 per cent pay increase and has claimed that the decision to ‘impose’ a three per cent pay increase is one of the ‘best in UK industry this year’.

Jerry Swain, Unite national officer for construction, said: “HTC’s press statement is unnecessarily increasing tensions in a dispute which Unite believes can be resolved without recourse to strike action.

“In order to make real progress HTC Wolffkran need to have a better understanding of how industrial negotiations operate. Our pay claim is based on what we believe the company could and should pay. However we fully understand that to reach an agreement all sides have to find common ground which can only be achieved through talks. By breaking off negotiations and then imposing a pay increase without agreement HTC Wolffkran has either by accident or design created this dispute.”

“It is disingenuous to claim workers have received substantial pay rises in recent years when in reality the company was simply returning money that they had cut from workers’ pay.”

The company has also highlighted that crane drivers currently earn up to £60,000 a year.

As part of the imposed pay increase the company is, increasing holiday pay by 2018 to 30 days per year. However the organisations 28 days leave is two days lower than the industry’s normal leave entitlement.

Mr Swain added: “HTC Wolffkran is correct to claim that some crane drivers earn £60,000, however they fail to mention how many hours a week a crane driver would have to work in order to make that kind of money. Also the company doesn’t address the physical and mental demands placed on a worker operating in a highly stressful and safety critical environment for such a long period.

“As previously stated Unite remains committed to seeking a negotiated settlement and are firmly of the belief that if HTC Wolffkran is prepared to sit down and enter into meaningful talks, strikes can be avoided.”

Unite’s strike ballot closes on Friday 4 August.

ENDS

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.