M25 Balfour workers vote to strike over pay

More than 100 Balfour Beatty maintenance workers are set to strike over pay terms.

According to Unite the Union regional officer Phil Silkstone, staff working at five sites on the M25 voted to strike after the contractor “repeatedly refused” to offer them a reasonable pay offer.

The staff, numbering about 150, were offered a pay increase of 3.4 per cent, which Unite says amounts to a pay cut in real terms. Inflation currently stands at 4.2 per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics’ lead inflation index.

The workers involved operate at depots in Barnet, Uxbridge, Swanley, Epping and Dartford. Unite said it will announce the strike dates in the coming days.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Providing these workers with a fair pay rise would not even dent Balfour Beatty’s huge profits. Balfour Beatty is hugely profitable – its pay offer is all about greed not need. Unite will be backing our members 100 per cent during the forthcoming strike action.”

Balfour Beatty, the UK’s biggest contractor, said it was disappointed with the strike decision. The strike announcement came just hours after the contractor reported a pre-tax profit of £261m for 2023, up from £244m the year before. Turnover grew 7.8 per cent to £9.6bn.

The contractor also committed to a dividend of 11.5p per share.

Silkstone said: “The inconvenience and delays caused by strike action to M25 travellers sits squarely at the door of Balfour Beatty. It has had every opportunity to put forward a reasonable offer but has repeatedly refused to do so.

“Balfour Beatty must swiftly return to talks with Unite and table an acceptable pay deal.”

A spokesperson for Balfour Beatty said: “We are disappointed by Unite the Union’s decision to proceed with strike action. We remain committed to working with them to reach an appropriate outcome, and would like to reassure travellers that suitable contingency plans are in place to minimise any potential disruption”.

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