The Heating and Ventilating Contractors' Association (HVCA) is working with seven major British construction firms to introduce in March next year a new single national agreement to replace five separate deals drawn up 40 years ago in the building engineering services sector.
The HVCA chief executive Blane Judd said: “The claims by the Unite union that the new proposed agreement will lead to what it calls massive pay cuts and workers heading for the sack are total fiction.
“No one will take a pay cut – in fact 30 per cent will see an increase in their pay packets – and no one will lose their jobs.
“Unite demands that construction employers get back to the table for talks which is frustrating given that the union walked away in May and our door has remained open for six months.
“The union is calling for a day of protest in London on 9 November and while I’m in favour of lawful marches I do hope that those considering coming to the capital have a strong grasp of the facts from the employers about the agreement and not just the union’s skewed views.”
The new building engineering services national agreement – BESNA – is at the root of the dispute.
Mr Judd added: “The BESNA agreement is about responding to changes in the construction industry. If we don’t evolve then we can’t remain competitive and we could see British firms lose jobs to foreign contractors.
“This new agreement will create job security and give apprentices and skilled staff a bright future which is something that British industry needs to see right now.”