Sjib Agreement

October 8th, 2021

by Andrew Verboncouer

Unite argues that the contractors` discourse on M&D reform is a wall of fog for their true intention to cut wages. The contractors vehemently dispute this and claim that the wage level of workers under BESNA is guaranteed. However, the union is concerned about the companies` determination to impose wage and conditional proposals without their agreement. Bratt, ECA`s director general, said in a statement: “It is disappointing that these seven contractors are pursuing this agreement at the expense of the entire industry and we would urge them to find a collaborative and sustainable solution. The protests come despite BESNA`s controversial deal led by the ECA`s rival trade organization, the HVCA. The decision by seven major M&E contractors to break away from the 40-year-old JIB collective agreement was triggered by an “urgent need for modernisation”, but has already led to furious clashes between workers and police. Building reports of a dispute that is likely to become the industry`s main labour relations dispute for 15 years Contractors say they have been working for decades under the weight of outdated wage agreements and conditions and that the situation is having devastating effects on their ability to earn work. Blane Judd, chief executive of the HVCA, said British contractors were losing to their international competitors. Judd says, “It`s about winning work and securing employment.

If we continue as before, we could have 1,000 licensed electricians unemployed – what good is that for anyone? He argues that the four overlapping JIB agreements that will replace BESNA are outdated, costly and ineffective. The dispute concerns the decision of seven contractors – including Gratte Brothers and Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES) – to abandon the Joint Industry Board (JIB) of the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) and Unite in favour of a new agreement by the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA). The move could have a huge impact on thousands of workers and change the shape of the M&D sector, which represents around 4,000 companies that generate £9 billion a year. BBES` John Moore proposes that the union launch a partial storm because it fears losing its influence – Unite is in the process of implementing, with the ECA, the JIB agreement for electricians. “The existing agreements give them considerable influence and they are not interested in modernizing the sector,” moore says. But Bernard McAulay, the unit responsible for construction, says contractors should return to the JIB agreement and reform it, adding that he is confident that Unite members will support strike action with the seven contractors. . . .

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