SOUTH Yorkshire workers employed by building contractors Balfour Beatty are to be reballoted after the company took legal action to stop them striking.
Members of the country’s biggest union, Unite, working at BBES, voted yes to strike action by a resounding 81 per cent, claiming there had been an unprecedented attack that will see mass de-skilling and huge pay cuts across the industry.
Unite now intends to re-ballot members working at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services, which has bases in Sheffield and Doncaster handling rail maintenance, after the company threatened to pull out of long standing collective agreements and sack their workers who do not sign up to inferior contracts.
Unite national officer, Bernard McAulay said: “BBES is aware that over 80 per cent of Unite members who returned their ballot papers, voted in favour of strike action. Our members have taken this step because of their deep concerns over the proposals by their employer to de-skill their industry.
“But rather than listen and return to the negotiating table, BBES have chosen to hide behind draconian ballot laws and challenge the democratic voice of BBES employees by quoting concerns, as to whether they have been advised of the correct name of workplaces and concerns, as to whether a handful of staff employees received ballot papers.
“Clearly, BBES values the skills of their lawyers more than the skills of their workforce.
“We now have a window of opportunity for BBES to talk with us. In fact, Unite contacted Acas to seek its help in bringing a negotiated settlement to this dispute.
Unite will announce the dates of the re-ballot with BBES in the coming weeks.