Members of Unite, the UK’s construction union, employed on Crossrail will take strike action early next year, in a dispute which is set to delay the project.
The 80 electricians are employed by Balfour Beatty on the Woolwich section of the Crossrail development.
The workers recorded an 85 per cent yes vote in favour of strike action in the dispute which concerns the payment of an improved second tier payment and a four week finishing bonus, payable when the workers are informed they are to be made redundant.
An initial 24 hour strike has been called for Wednesday 10 January. Further dates for strikes are anticipated to be called early in the new year.
A finishing bonus is standard practice on this type project. It allows the workers to give notice on their lodging, without suffering financial loss. The entire workforce on the Woolwich project is based outside London and therefore has had to organise additional accommodation during the duration of the project.
The strike action is the first time that official industrial action has been called on Crossrail. It comes at a time that the entire project has become increasingly beset with problems relating to deteriorating industrial relations. Unite has discovered contemporary blacklisting on Crossrail and Unite activists have been harassed and victimised by management.
Unite regional officer Guy Langston, said: “We have repeatedly tried to resolve this issue through negotiation but Balfour Beatty has refused to take the workforce’s concerns seriously.
“We have had no option but to take strike action, this will undoubtedly cause disruption and could potentially delay the entire project.
“It is imperative that Balfour Beatty recognises the damage strike action will have to the Crossrail project and return to the negotiating table to resolve this issue.
“This ballot is a line in the sand and Unite will back its members to the hilt if further industrial issues develop during the final period of the project Crossrail.”
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: 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.