Crane workers to strike

Ainscough Cranes
Ainscough Cranes

HUNDREDS of crane workers are set to launch a series of strikes in a dispute over pay.

Unite, the country’s biggest union, is urging Ainscough, which has a base in Bradley Lane, Standish, to improve its pay offer to avert potential serious disruption on construction sites and major projects across the UK, after the decisive rejection of the company’s two-year deal.

Members rejected the company’s revised two year pay offer of 2.5 per cent and 2.75 per cent, amid warnings that it failed to recognise the workforce’s contribution to last year’s £14m profits.

The union’s 500 crane operator and support staff members, who operate lifting services on UK construction projects including, on the M1 and M6 motorway upgrades, voted by 90 per cent for strike action, on an 83 per cent turnout. Over 90 per cent voted for action short of a strike.

A series of escalating strikes are planned across the company’s 30 UK-wide depots, including Wigan, starting on February 1 to March 23. A programme of overtime bans will begin on January 30 to March 20.

Unite national officer for construction Bernard McAulay, said: “The strength of this strike ballot result should serve as a wake-up call to management. Our members are highly skilled crane operatives working on some of the UK’s premier construction sites in challenging conditions. They deserve better from their multi-million profit making employer.

“Our members’ hard work, skills and dedication have helped make Ainscough the highly profitable and respected business it is today. They are justifiably angry that the company can boast of making a £14m profit last year and yet offer a derisory pay increase in return.

“Ainscough needs to heed this warning and come back to the negotiating table with an improved pay offer or risk major disruption to its UK-wide operations. Our members are seeking a pay deal that recognises the dynamic and specialist skills they have.”