Balfour Beatty workers will carry out three 36-hour strikes on consecutive weekends next month in a dispute over pay.
The RMT rail union announced the action following a ballot of Balfour staff working for the Central Rail Systems Alliance (CSRA), a joint venture between the firm, Network Rail, Atkins and TSO.
The decision to call the strike was made by the union’s national executive committee following a ballot of 109 Balfour engineers working for the alliance. The vote rejected a 5.5 per cent pay increase offered by the firm.
RMT spokesman John Millington told Construction News: “This dispute, unlike the national industrial action, is strictly related to pay.
“This is a multimillion-pound company and these are highly skilled workers doing highly specialised work. These workers are not satisfied with the pay offer.”
Millington said that negotiations had been taking place with Balfour for a number of months.
He said that details of the pay increase sought by the workers were confidential, but said that the union has reached pay deals leading to increases of between 7 and 10 per cent with other firms including ScotRail.
The ballot of 109 workers saw 68 vote for strike action, meeting the threshold required under legislation for strike action to be valid.
The workers are now set to down tools during the following periods:
- 10pm on Friday 3 March to 10am on Sunday 5 March
- 10pm on Friday 10 March to 10am Sunday 12 March
- 10pm on Friday 17 March to 10am Sunday 19 March
In October, Balfour topped the 2022 CN100 of the UK’s biggest contractors by turnover, with revenue of £7.2bn last year, although its profit of £87m equated to just a 1.21 per cent profit margin.
Commenting on the industrial action, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The cost-of-living crisis has affected all workers and our members are not prepared to pay the price while the company enjoy huge revenues.
“Balfour Beatty is a highly profitable company and they need to use some of their excess wealth to reward their workers properly.”
A Balfour Beatty spokesperson said: “We remain committed to working closely with the RMT union to reach an appropriate outcome.
“However, as these discussions remain ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
The CRSA was created in 2019 to work on the 10-year contract for the development, design and delivery of track renewals and crossings, as well as associated infrastructure works across the London North West, London North East and East Midland routes.
Balfour employees working on the contract previously threatened to strike in 2021 after being offered no pay rise for 2020.