Unite the UK’s construction union has warned that the opening of the new Woolwich station on the multi-billion pound Crossrail development is set to be delayed as a direct result of the refusal of Balfour Beatty to resolve an industrial dispute.

The dispute involves 76 electricians employed by Balfour Beatty, who are taking strike action, in a dispute over an improved second tier payment and an industry standard four week finishing bonus (payable when workers are made redundant).

Two 24 hour strikes have already taken place on January 10 and 31. Further one day strikes have been called for February 7, 14 and 21, each strike will begin at 06:00.

The two strikes which have already taken place have caused widespread disruption and delays at the Woolwich station construction site and on other related sections of the Crossrail development.

Despite this Balfour Beatty has shown no inclination in progressing negotiations to resolve the dispute.

Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “The blasé attitude of Balfour Beatty’s management is breathtaking.

“They appear to have absolutely no desire nor inclination to resolve this dispute.

“The morale of the workforce is at rock bottom and productivity levels have fallen off the cliff edge, since the strike action began.

“Unless Balfour Beatty come to the table and resolves the strike action then there is no way the Woolwich Crossrail station will be ready to open on time.

“Balfour Beatty’s lack of interest in seeking a negotiated settlement is raising questions about whether it has an ulterior motive.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: barckley.sumner@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.