Unite members at Ainscough, the UK’s premier mobile crane company, are preparing to begin balloting for industrial action in a dispute over pay.
The 400 plus Unite member are furious that after nearly eight months of negotiations Ainscough management has tabled a pay offer which will result in most workers experiencing a pay cut.
The current pay offer, which was made following eight separate meetings of pay negotiations, would see basic rates increase by 4.5 per cent however it would also see enhanced rates for overtime significantly reduced.
Workers undertaking more than 50 hours a week (which is standard practice) will in fact suffer a pay cut.
Further talks have been scheduled for this week (August 16-17) but if no breakthrough is made then Unite will immediately move to an industrial action ballot including the option of strike action which will cause widespread disruption on construction sites throughout the UK.
If the members voted for strike action it would begin at some point this autumn.
High profile sites where Ainscough are currently operating include the A14 improvement project and the Philips 66, oil refinery at Immingham in north east Lincolnshire.
Not at expense of workers’ pay
Ainscough have said that the business needs to be reorganised, a point which Unite recognises however the union has made clear that this should not be at the expense of workers’ pay.
Unite is also highly concerned about how management seems to be casualising the workforce by increasingly trying to replace highly skilled crane operators, with lower skilled workers on zero hour’s contracts.
Autumn of anarchy
Unite national officer for construction Bernard McAulay said: “The construction industry need to start making plans for an autumn of anarchy if Ainscough don’t make a substantially improved pay offer.
“The protracted pay talks have been like pulling teeth and the latest offer by Ainscough is entirely unacceptable to our members.
“Unite understands that the company needs to make reforms in the way it operates and the union is prepared to work with Ainscough on these reforms but this cannot simply be in the form of a pay cut for our members.
“Ainscough needs to call a halt to their plans to deskill the workforce forcing them onto zero hours contracts they need to remember that it is the skills and professional approach of their workforce is what has made them the UK’s Premier crane hire company.”
“The onus is now on Ainscough’s management to sit down and negotiate a sensible pay offer which is of benefit to all concerned.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.