BALFOUR BEATTY must furlough workers at its Cross Rail site in Whitechapel, London, instead of carrying on with the redundancy process in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, Unite, the UK’s construction union, said.
The union said the building giant’s decision to begin redundancy consultations with around 30 construction workers this week, instead of including them under the furlough scheme until the end of the lockdown period, was ‘cruel’.
The Balfour Beatty redundancies were planned before the coronavirus crisis began. However, Unite said that it is ‘very possible’ the workers will need to be taken back on after it has passed, because of the volatilities in the labour market that will follow in the wake of the emergency.
Job Retention Scheme
Unite also rubbished Balfour Beatty’s excuse that it does not want to seem to be taking advantage of the job retention scheme’ as a reason for not keeping the workers on the books.
Unite regional officer, Mark Soave said, “Our members are loyal and hardworking Balfour Beatty staff who are now facing the prospect of dire financial difficulties for themselves and their families during a pandemic.
“There is no reason for Balfour Beatty to cast them into penury on Universal Credit at such a dreadful time.
“Clearly anyone with even a modicum of sense can see that registering these workers is the moral thing to do.
“We implore Balfour Beatty’s management to think about the suffering they are going to cause these workers and their families and reverse this cruel decision.”