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Fri May 07 2021

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Tower crane strike on the cards as talks collapse

12 May 17 Peace talks to avert a tower crane operators’ strike have collapsed.

Workers at HTC Wolffkran, one of the UK’s largest tower crane hire companies, are unhappy that their wages have not reached the level in real terms that they were prior to the 2008 construction recession.

Unite, the union that represents them, warned in March that strike action was likely after workers unanimously rejected a pay offer.

Peace talks were held at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on Wednesday 10th May but collapsed after six hours as the German-owned company insisted it would only increase its offer by 0.5%.

Unite acting national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “The company’s latest pay offer is frankly pathetic and way below our members’ expectations whose pay has fallen in real terms in the last decade. Unite will be preparing to launch a full industrial action ballot.

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“Our members are not going to accept a below inflation offer from a company which has seen profits soar. This offer represents a cut in real terms to our members’ pay.”

Major sites where HTC Wolffkran’s cranes are currently operating (they are the red ones) include: Tottenham Hotspur football stadium, Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush, BBC TV centre at White City and the new Goldmans Sachs building in Farringdon.

Mr Swain added: “The company needs to understand that crane drivers undertake a highly skilled job in stressful, difficult conditions and want to be properly rewarded for their work. The only way that HTC can avoid major industrial action is if the company returns to the negotiating table with a substantially improved offer. If strike action occurs it will result in major industrial disruption which will have a massive effect on all sites where the company operates.”

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