Construction sites facing standstill as crane drivers ballot for industrial action

Construction sites across Britain could come to a standstill if crane drivers at a major company vote for strike action.

Over 180 UCATT members at crane company HTC Plant Limited have been sent ballot papers today (October 7th) in a dispute over pay. The crane drivers are angry that the company is not prepared to restore pay in real terms to the levels they were at before the 2008 recession.

Since 2008 crane drivers at HTC have endured several, pay freezes and also had many of their allowances cut. Despite entering into negotiations with the company, HTC has declined to table an offer which meets UCATT member’s expectations.

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

Major contractors who would be affected by the industrial action include: Kier, Lend Lease, Bam, Costain, Mace and Vinci.

High profile projects that HTC are working on include: Crossrail, the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston and the London Bridge redevelopment.

Cranes play an integral part in a huge amount of construction site work and it is likely these sites will grind to a halt.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of construction union UCATT, 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.”

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

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

The ballot closes on Monday 27th October 2014.


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