Operatives across the building engineering services sector can now look forward to a considerable uplift in their pay and conditions thanks to an agreement between their trade union and the industry’s employers, according to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).
The new operative wage settlement comes into effect at the start of October 2023 and represents a pay increase of 10% over two years, with some additional enhancements to pension provisions also agreed.
The Association negotiated the new rates for hourly paid operatives on behalf of the industry’s employers with Unite the union. An earlier offer was rejected by Unite in June, but the employers returned with improved terms following further consultation with BESA members in July. This was put to a vote and accepted by the union membership earlier this month.
A 7% increase in hourly grade rates has been agreed from October this year, including a corresponding increase in Premium Rate 1, Premium Rate 2, daily travelling allowances and responsibility allowances. As from October next year there will be a further 3% increase in the hourly grade rates.
Employer and employee pension contributions will also rise by 1% of basic pay from October 2024. This additional improvement in the pension provisions under the National Agreement is not voluntary and the employer contribution is dependent on an employee contribution, which takes total contributions to 6% and 5% respectively.
“This round of wage negotiations has been extremely challenging but, with support from BESA’s Employment Policy Committee and the membership, I believe the parties have achieved the right deal for employers and employees,” said BESA’s head of employment affairs Paula Samuels.
“Rising costs and pressures on profit margins mean conditions are difficult for everyone in the sector, but fortunately the positive relationship that exists between union representatives and the Association allows us to negotiate constructively and in a spirit of mutual trust and co-operation leading to this positive outcome.”