A disruption to the supply of materials could delay construction projects during the busy spring and summer months as HGV drivers at Cemex UK ballot for strike action in a pay dispute.
The 74 HGV drivers – based at four depots in Rugby, Warwickshire, Tilbury, Essex, Barton-on-Humber, north Lincolnshire and Newport in South Wales – supply building materials to construction sites across the UK.
And union Unite is warning of delays if members back industrial action, with supplies to Heathrow and infrastructure projects, such as the Mersey Gateway, being disrupted.
The ballot, which runs until Thursday, May 4, comes after drivers rejected the Cemex’s pay offer of a 1.6 per cent increase and allowances backdated to July 1, 2016. Additionally, only a quarter of the existing location allowance would be consolidated into the agreement.
Adrian Jones, Unite national officer for road transport, said: “Members are simply not going to accept a pay offer which in real terms sees their pay fall.
“Cemex should be investing in its hardworking and dedicated workforce with a pay offer that properly reflects the important contribution our members make to the business.
“It is imperative that Cemex understands the determination of our members and produces a much improved offer to avert the need for industrial action.
“If industrial action does occur, then it will severally affect large sections of the construction industry creating shortages of building materials for key construction projects and cause serious delays.”
A spokesperson for Cemex said: “Cemex UK very much regrets that Unite has called a ballot of HGV cement tanker drivers delivering bulk cement, based at a number of our cement supply depots, seeking approval for industrial action.
“Cemex UK has a robust contingency in place should our HGV cement tanker drivers resort to any industrial action, and we will ensure a continued supply of bulk cement to all of our customers. Supply of all other Cemex UK products is not affected by this ballot.
“The offer made to our HGV cement tanker drivers, representing fewer than two and a half percent of the Cemex UK workforce, is the same as that already in place for the rest of our 3,000 UK employees and relates to the pay increase awarded for last year (2016). Cemex UK always seeks to proactively engage with all our drivers and Unite.”