The Unite union, which represents 76 electricians working for Balfour Beatty on the Woolwich Crossrail station, has labelled management as “guttersnipes and common thieves” after Balfour Beatty ceased paying bonuses.
Balfour Beatty, however, says that it was agreed in a March 2017 productivity deal, which the union signed, that strike action in two different weeks of a month would result in bonuses being forfeited.
Workers took their third day of strike action yesterday, 7th February, following previous strikes on 10th and 31st January. Further strikes are planned for 14th and 21st February. Balfour Beatty believes its deduction of bonuses from wages complies with last year’s productivity deal.
According to Unite, Balfour Beatty is also now attempting to cut the pay of supervisors on the project by £1 an hour. Balfour Beatty has told the affected workers they have been overpaid them and the company is now trying to recoup the money.
Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “Balfour Beatty’s management are no better than guttersnipes and common thieves and they should hang their heads in shame at their pathetic attempts to bully workers.
“Balfour Beatty’s actions have generated levels of anger not seen before in our membership and the ensuing demonstrations will show their fury.
“Balfour Beatty’s entirely unnecessary actions will backfire and are set to cause even further delays to the multi-billion Crossrail project. Unite will be using all legal avenues available it in order to ensure that the workers have their bonus payments repaid.”
A Balfour Beatty spokesperson said: “We are continuing to engage with Unite and Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick’s workforce of electricians on Crossrail. Balfour Beatty engaged fully with Unite to negotiate and agree a productivity bonus for Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick’s workforce of electricians on Crossrail. Since then, Unite demanded a significant increase in the bonus level and a completion bonus. We are committed to resolving this dispute and to the continued progress of the project.”