Electricians working for Balfour Beatty Engineering Services have voted by 81% to take strike action in their battle against their employer’s attempt to unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Industry Board (JIB), the body which oversees union-negotiated pay and conditions.
Balfour Beatty, along with six other major mechanical and electrical construction contractors, are proposing to replace the JIB with a new agreement, the “Building Engineering Services National Agreement” (BESNA), which is not union-negotiated. Workers currently employed by the seven contractors have been told they have until 7 December to sign up to BESNA, or risk losing their jobs. The new contracts would mean a 35% pay cut for some workers.
A London-based rank-and-file committee, around the Siteworker bulletin, has kept up a weekly programme of “flashmob”-style direct actions, including a lightning occupation of the head offices of the Gratte Brothers contractor on Wednesday 23 November.