Balfour Beatty Withdraws Contracts

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The Unite trade union, yesterday welcomed the withdrawal of controversial contracts by Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES), which would have resulted in the termination of long-held agreements and the de-skilling of construction workers.

A Unite statement said: ‘The imposition of the new contracts by BBES were at the heart of a long-running dispute, which saw electricians, plumbers, heating and ventilating engineers vote overwhelmingly for strike action twice.

‘BBES was one of seven construction firms who sought to tear up the long-standing Joint Industry Board’s agreements and impose new semi-skilled grades.

‘The new contracts would have led to pay cuts of up to 30 per cent and poorer terms and conditions for key construction staff.

‘The union calls on the other six firms to follow the lead of the main player Balfour Beatty and withdraw the contracts and the threat of dismissal.’

The six other contractors are: NG Bailey Building Services; Crown House Technologies; Gratte Brothers; Spie Matthew Hall; Shepherd Engineering Services (SES); and T Clarke Plc.

• Rail union RMT yesterday confirmed two 24-hour strikes and a 48-hour overtime ban on Heathrow Express over the sacking of driver Zahid Majid who, despite a series of meetings, Heathrow Express have refused to reinstate, and the continuing victimisation of a RMT activist.

All RMT driver members at Heathrow Express will take part in a 24-hour strike beginning 12:15 Sunday 26th February, a 48-hour overtime ban from 03:00 on Saturday 3rd March and a 24-hour strike commencing 12:15 on Sunday 11th March 2012.

A separate dispute in support of Heathrow Express Branch Secretary and Representative, Liaqat Ali will see a 24-hour strike by all RMT members at Heathrow Express beginning 12:15 Sunday 26th February; 2012, an 48-hour overtime ban from Saturday 3rd March 2012; and another 24 hour strike commencing at 12:15 on Sunday 11th March 2012.