London’s Crossrail project will experience major disruption this week as strike action is set to go ahead because of a refusal by Balfour Beatty to pay industry standard project completion payments.
The 80 electricians who are Unite members, will take 24 hours of strike action tomorrow (Wednesday January 10) on the Woolwich section of Crossrail.
The dispute concerns a demand for an improved second tier payment and a four week finishing bonus (payable when workers are made redundant).
The strike will begin at 6 am and there will be picket lines in place. The strike is set to cause disruption at the Woolwich site and also on other related sections of the project.
“This is the first time that strike action will take place on Crossrail this will cause disruption and inevitably delay the project,” said Unite regional officer Guy Langston.
“The strike was announced before Christmas, giving Balfour Beatty every opportunity to resolve the dispute through negotiations but they have declined to do so.
“Industrial relations on the entire Crossrail project have been steadily deteriorating and Unite will continue to fully support our members when further industrial issues develop during the lifetime of the project,” he added.
A finishing bonus is standard practice on comparable major projects. It allows workers to give notice on their lodging, without suffering financial loss. All the electricians employed at Woolwich live outside London and have had to arrange temporary accommodation while employed on Crossrail.
Industrial relations on Crossrail have been declining for some time, in September last year Unite revealed how contemporary blacklisting was occurring on the project, while some of the union’s activists have been harassed and victimised by management.
If the dispute is not resolved further strike dates are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.