Unite, the main construction union, is warning that a summer of chaos on construction sites is looming after tower crane drivers for HTC Wolffkran unanimously rejected a pay offer.
Over 50 crane drivers with the company, which is the largest tower crane operator in the UK, unanimously rejected a ‘derisory’ three per cent pay offer at a mass meeting on Wednesday 21 March.
Unite will now conduct a consultative ballot of their entire membership and then expect to begin a full industrial action ballot in early summer, unless the company significantly improves its pay offer.
The latest accounts filed by HTC Wolffkran demonstrate that the company recorded a 46 per cent increase in gross profits, with an operating profit of £4,333 million.
Major projects where HTC Wolffkran is operating include: The regeneration of the BBC TV Centre at White City; the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush; the new Tottenham football stadium and the new Goldmans Sachs HQ in Farringdon.
The strategic nature of tower cranes means that industrial action would result in much of the work on site grinding to a halt.
Unite’s acting national officer for construction Jerry Swain, said: “Workers are demanding an offer based on the company’s ability to pay. There is no way members will accept an offer which sees their standard of living effectively cut through rising inflation, when HTC’s coffers are bulging.
“If the company fails to significantly improve its pay offer then Unite members will not shy away from causing major industrial disruption, with high profile construction sites being targeted.”
In November 2014 workers at the predecessor company HTC Plant Ltd took strike action over a pay dispute and subsequently secured a greatly enhanced pay deal.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
- 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.