Employment Affairs & HR

As a BESA member you have access to our in house team of experts at no extra cost.

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61 Contracts and Handbooks Reviewed

An Extra Pair Of Hands To Help With Your Employment Matters

You may not have the resources to employ a Human Resources (HR) specialist and that’s what our service offers you, professional employment advice and help when you need it and on-going support. Manage your workforce by keeping on top of employment issues and legislation by accessing our extensive range of guidance, templates and supporting documents in the BESA Members' Area.

Our service includes:

  • unlimited access to the BESA Employment Affairs Helpline
  • guidance on formal processes such as disciplinaries, grievances, sickness, performance and probation
  • regular employment updates and employer insight
  • employment contract and staff handbook development
  • policies and procedure reviews

National Agreements

BESA also negotiate and maintain collective agreements and are advocates for industry competitiveness and profitability. In its role as an employers’ organisation, the BESA is responsible for ensuring the relevance to members’ needs of collective agreements with the sector’s recognised trade union. These agreements are with the trade union Unite (in respect of hourly paid Operatives) and its white-collar section EESA (in respect of staff employees). Find out more about these agreements below.

Members can login to access these documents and the supporting guidance.

You can download the latest JCC LETTER 130 2023-2025 NATIONAL AGREEMENT OPERATIVE WAGE SETTLEMENT from our member area

If you are interested in downloading a copy of the National Agreements, members can do so from the member area.

Non-members can purchase a copy at a cost of £25 by contacting our Employment Affairs team on or 0207 313 4938.

Operative National Agreement Working rules, wages, terms and conditions for Operatives in the industry are contained in the National Agreement, operated jointly between the trade union, Unite (on behalf of Operatives) and BESA (on behalf of Employers). This National Agreement is the centrepiece of employee relations in the H&V contracting sector of the industry and is used mainly by companies engaged on industrial and commercial pipefitting and ductwork installation.
Environmental Engineering Industry(EEI) Staff Salary Agreement

The parties to this Agreement are BESA and the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA) on behalf of the employers, and the Staff Association EESA, on behalf of the staff. The centrepiece of the Agreement is a straightforward-to-use, free-from-bureaucracy job evaluation scheme.  The scheme is a recognised method of assisting employers put in place a grading and pay structure for their staff employees which is fair, equitable and rational – whether or not they use the EEI Agreement.

The salary structure of the Agreement sits neatly against the grades that emerge from applying the job evaluation scheme. The salaries set out in the Agreement are objectively and quantifiably linked to the salary levels which independent research shows are paid in the marketplace.

Two salaries are given for each grade:

  • a grade minimum salary for the evaluated grade for an individual employee’s job description; and
  • a guide salary for a fully competent employee which is intended to be an indicator of the salary paid to an employee who is consistently meeting the full requirements of the job. The Parties to the Agreement recognise that the Agreement confers no prescriptive or contractual entitlement to a salary at this level and actual salaries will be assessed by employers taking account of all relevant factors.

Pay progression between the grade minimum salary and the guide salary for a fully competent employee is performance-based using a formal personnel appraisal method developed and implemented in accordance with the guidance in the Joint Guidance Note contained in the Staff Salary Handbook of Agreements.    

Wages and Salary Standards and Operative Holidays

In our role as an employers' organisation, BESA publishes standard wage rates for hourly-paid, site-based Operatives which are negotiated on behalf of employers with the trade union, Unite, and salaries for staff employees, which are negotiated with the staff association, EESA (a white-collar section of Unite).

Equally, there are actions in relation to employment affairs and human resources issues which BESA undertakes in its role as the sector's representative body to Government, the Confederation of British Industry and other key national and international organisations.

Key Advantages of the National Agreements Include:

Level playing field

The Agreement provides a level playing field between competing contractors in relation to pay and terms and conditions of employment for Operatives, leaving contractors to compete on quality of service, technical excellence, efficiency and delivering client satisfaction


It offers employees attractive terms and conditions of employment, including welfare benefits and pension


The employment package keeps pace with current employment legislation, leading to certainty in employers' employment practices

harmonious industrial relations

Use of the Agreement helps promote long-term labour price and industrial relations stability, avoiding the need for company negotiations

Common Standards The Agreement defines standards in relation to pricing the labour content of jobs comprising, principally, nationally negotiated terms & conditions of employment and hourly pay rates for building engineering services craft personnel engaged on mechanical services work on construction sites. The rates of pay and terms and conditions of employment it sets out are widely recognised for tendering purposes by both clients and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Securing Skills It provides a basis for identifying, demonstrating and securing the skills of those employed in the industry
HMRC Agreement It incorporates the ability for employers to pay employees’ travel-to-work and accommodation costs tax-free, by agreement with HMRC, without the administrative complications usually associated with this practice

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