Unite, the second largest union in the UK, has reported a number of large contractors based on claims that they are “acting in an anti-competitive way to drive down the pay and conditions of their workforces”.
This comes as the latest action in the union’s campaign against N G Bailey Building Services, Crown House Technologies, Gratte Brothers, Spie Matthew Hall, Shepherd Engineering Services and T Clarke over intentions to abandon the industry’s Joint Industry Board (JIB) pay and conditions agreement and switch to the new Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) deal.
By relinquishing the JIB agreements, Unite believe the companies are breaking competition law and working in cahoots to set new pay and conditions under BESNA, terms “which are not agreed by Unite”.
Although the BESNA website states one of the advantages of the agreement as “Pay parity across all trade disciplines resulting in increases for nearly a third of all workers”, Unite clearly sees such stated benefits as problematic.
The Heating & Ventilating Contractors’ Association (HVCA) released a statement indicating their intentions on the issue. “We would call on Unite to sit down and talk to us about the introduction of the Building Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) rather than focusing on diversionary tactics.”