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Sites face standstill as crane drivers ballot for industrial action

7 Oct 14 Construction sites across Britain could come to a standstill if tower crane operators vote for strike action.

More than 180 Ucatt members at tower crane company HTC Plant have been sent ballot papers today (7th October) in a dispute over pay.

The drivers are being balloted on whether they would support strike action and industrial action short of strike action.

This dispute is likely to be the first of many involving pay rates at crane companies, Ucatt said.

HTC Plant is owned by PC Harrington and operates the tower crane business previously run by Hewden. With approximately 250 tower cranes in its fleet it is one of the UK’s biggest tower crane companies, along with Laing O’Rourke’s Select Plant division, which has a similar number. Most of HTC’s fleet are German-made Wolff cranes. Its customers, who would be affected by stationary cranes, include Kier, Lend Lease, BAM, Costain, Mace and Vinci.

Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy said: “Crane drivers are fed up. They have endured years of pay cuts and seen their pay fall in real terms. The industry is booming but their employers are not prepared to pay up.

 “Strike action by crane drivers will cause chaos across construction sites. HTC should return to the negotiating table with a dramatically improved offer.”

The ballot closes on Monday 27th October 2014.

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