Heathrow building workers set to strike again

A second strike by workers building Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport looks set to go ahead.

On Tuesday, employers Laing O'Rourke offered scaffolders and labourers an extra 67p an hour in bonus pay - short of union members' call for £1 an hour.

But GMB and Transport and General Workers' Union said until members are balloted, the strike will take place.

Hundreds are expected to walk out on Friday and Monday for the second time.

The GMB stated:
Construction work on the new home for British Airways, which is being funded by BAA at Heathrow Terminal 5 and which was halted the week before Christmas by the Transport and General Workers Union and GMB construction members will be affected again by a second stoppage and overtime ban over 4 days between Friday 20th January and Tuesday 24th in a dispute over bonus pay.

The unions said the dispute is with the contractors Laing O’Rourke who have so far failed to match the £1 an hour claim for the construction workers. The mechanical engineering workers on the site have already been awarded this £1 per hour from June.

The bonus pay rates have not been reviewed for three years and the joint unions drew comparisons with other contractors on site who have agreed to the claim which amounts to under £50 a week.

Tom Kelly, GMB Construction Organiser, said,

“The strength of feeling amongst GMB members is growing. Any disruption to the construction of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 will be placed directly at the door of the employer for their behaviour over the conduct of this official strike action. Since the ballot more than 300 new members have joined the unions taking action.”

“Our members have voted to strike, more people on site are joining the T&G by the day as they see us fighting back for them and the onus now is on Laing O’Rourke to respond positively to our claim,” said Alan Brkljac, T&G regional industrial organiser.

Four days of action will be start at 6.45am on Friday 20th and ending 6. 45am on Tuesday 24th January. At the same time an overtime ban will be put in place.

In December, workers staged a two-day walk out in the row over bonus pay.

The £4bn Terminal 5 is being built to the west of Heathrow Airport and is due to be completed in 2008.

December 19th strike:
http://libcom.org/news/article.php/200512190754330

Laing workers to strike:
http://libcom.org/news/article.php/terminal-5-strikes-heathrow-10-12-05