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Balfour Beatty workers strike can proceed says judge

Mar, 13 2012

(UK) -- Balfour Beatty Plc, the U.K.’s biggest building company, lost a bid for a court order blocking a proposed strike by hundreds of union workers.

Judge David Eady in London refused to issue an injunction in a written judgment made public today.

Members of Unite labor union employed by Balfour Beatty Engineering Services voted two-to-one for a strike in the most recent ballot, the group said on its website Feb. 2. Unite claims a new employment deal will lead to pay cuts of as much as 30 percent and poorer contract terms for construction staff.

The dispute relates to collective bargaining agreements in the construction industry and a “divide” between the electrical and mechanical trades, according to the judgment. Strike action at Balfour Beatty may affect infrastructure projects including a London train line and new power stations, Unite has said.

The company argued in the case that the strike vote process was flawed.

“It seems clear that any such failures would be unintentional,” the judge wrote. It isn’t clear how many of the workers involved failed “to receive a ballot paper or to have an opportunity to cast a vote.”

Balfour Beatty fell more than 2.1 percent before closing down less than 1 percent at 278.8 pence in London.


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