Unite warns road users of widespread winter disruption because of ‘union busting’ by construction firm Amey

Union says twelve motorways and a number of ‘A’ roads likely to be hit; blames company’s attempt to drive down pay and conditions

Unite the Union has issued a public warning to road users of likely widespread disruption on a dozen key motorways this winter, blaming ‘union busting’ by infrastructure giant Amey.

The union says that a new management team installed last spring sees driving down workers’ pay and confitions as its route to increasing profits:

Road users in the North West are being warned that there may be disruption to the motorway network this winter, if members of Unite the union, move to industrial action in response to the ‘union busting’ tactics of construction giant Amey.

Motorways affected

The problems relate to the Area 10 highways management contract which was awarded to Amey in 2019 and covers the M6, M60, M67, M66, M56, M57, M58, M602, M61, M62, M53 , M65 and a number of major A roads.

The workers undertake highways maintenance and respond to accidents ensuring that motorways can re-open quickly and safely. During the colder months, the workforce undertakes winter maintenance and gritting to keep the roads ice free and safe for vehicles.

New management

Unite has a long standing recognition agreement under the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) national agreement on the contract and has a very high density of membership. A new management team was installed in early 2020, who have stated that the only way to make money on the contract is to reduce the pay and conditions of the workforce.

To this end, Amey is attempting to end the union recognition on the contract, reduce the number of elected workplace representatives and it has already began to attack the terms and conditions of workers.

Bonus removed

Amey has recently removed the bonus payments workers receive, tried to insist (contrary to the existing industrial agreement) that all holidays are booked a year in advance and is trying to bring new starters onto the contract outside of the protection of the recognition agreement. It is doing this even through the workers, who were designated as being ‘key’ employees, continually worked throughout the pandemic.

Unite is already preparing to challenge Amey’s ‘union busting’ industrially, legally and politically.

The union is writing to all the MPs and councillors in area 10 (Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and South Lancashire) informing them of what is occurring and asking them to support the workers and condemn the actions of Amey.

Ramp up profits

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Andy Fisher said: “Amey’s management in the North West, we fear, is set on ‘union busting’, in order to cut workers’ pay and conditions to ramp up profits.

“Industrial action would be the last resort and would not be entered into lightly as it will cause incredible disruption across the North West.

“However, Amey needs to understand that Unite will not allow its members to be treated in this manner.”

Stop attacking workers

National officer for construction Ian Woodland said: “Amey needs to stop attacking its workers’ terms and conditions, stop attacking Unite and enter into detailed negotiations about a sensible and fair way forward on this contract.”

Amey has been contacted for comment.

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  1. BloJob might see this as an opportunity – like Thatcher vs. the miners, Thatcher vs. the Argies.
    Playing chicken with the EU he’s going to get his arse handed to him.
    A domestic win might take our minds off him fucking up the easiest trade deal in history and trailing Trunt in the coronavirus competence league.

    1. Bozo knew quite well that he could never get a trade deal on his terms, simply because the EU holds all the cards and quite rightly won’t allow us to change the terms upon which we leave and have agreed. Bozo and his Brextremists will now spend the rest of the year blaming the EU for the mess the Tories have got us into.

  2. Contractors bid for jobs inclusive of low margin then when they’ve won the contract they find the profit from some other source. Sounds like it’s the workers on this occasion.

  3. Anyone else think the North West is being targeted at this point in time?

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