Unite will re-ballot its members at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services in attempt to defeat the Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA), the new collective “agreement” being imposed on mechanical and electrical construction workers by Balfour Beatty and six other major construction contractors.
A previous strike ballot returned a majority for action, but electricians were forced to strike unofficially after Unite cancelled the strike following legal threats from BBES.
The rank-and-file committee that has been the de facto leadership of the campaign against BESNA reports that many sparks have returned their new BESNA contacts to their contractors’ offices unopened. 150 sparks returned contracts to BBES’s headquarters in Hillington, Scotland, on Tuesday 10 January. But with the 9 January deadline set by contractors for workers to sign up to the new contracts now passed, sparks are in a desperate situation. Only a comprehensive programme of action will give sparks the confidence to refuse to sign their contracts and the belief that the “big 7” can be beaten.
Following a recent meeting with rank-and-file activists, Unite leader Len McCluskey pledged to do more to support the sparks’ campaign.
The new BBES ballot closes on Thursday 2 February, with ballots at two more of the seven contractors promised within the month.