Union ballots tower crane operators for strike action

The threat of strike action at tower crane hire company HTC Wolffkran continues to rise with the Unite union balloting its members there in a dispute over pay.

Unite is seeking a mandate from its members at HTC Wolffkran for strike action after the company declined fresh pay talks. The union has been warning since March that a strike was coming.

If workers vote in favour of strikes, they will begin later this summer, with construction sites across the country liable to be affected.  Projects using HTC cranes and therefore likely to be affected include the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, Greenwich Peninsula, Elephant & Castle redevelopment, the Midland Metropolitan Hospital and the Sheffield Retail Quarter.

Peace talks were held at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on Wednesday 10th May but collapsed after six hours.

The German-owned company refused to increase its pay offer beyond 3% with a commitment of bringing holidays in line with industry minimums.

Unite says that the pay offer is a cut in real terms as the retail price index is currently 3.7% and expected to increase. Members are unhappy that their pay has not recovered in real terms compared to what workers were receiving in 2008, the union says.

HTC workers will begin to receive their ballot papers from Wednesday 19th July and the ballot will close on Monday 4th August.

Jerry Swain, Unite’s acting national officer for construction, said: “This strike ballot is taken very much as a last resort and is entirely a result of HTC Wolffkran failing to put forward a pay offer that meets our members’ expectations and its refusal to return to the negotiating table.”

Source:- http://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/union-ballots-tower-crane-operators-for-strike-action

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