Over 1,100 workers at CE Electric, in the Unite and GMB unions, have voted to strike for a 5 percent wage increase.
CE Electric, is the parent company of Northern Electric Distribution Limited (NEDL) and Yorkshire Electric Distribution Limited (YEDL)
Workers, who maintain and repair overground and underground electricity cables and facilities, have previously rejected a 3.8 percent pay offer, saying it falls “way below” the industry average of 5.1 percent.
They have already refused to work overtime and withdrawn stand-by cover as part of a “continuous” period of industrial action since June.
The company’s latest pay offer is a two-year deal, above inflation in both years, with 4.5 per cent on offer for the first year.
Another demand is for an increase in a £15 on-call rate for a 15-hour period.
Workers in the GMB voted by 88 percent in favour to take strike action.
The industrial action could disrupt work on a £63 million PFI contract to replace street lighting in South Tyneside.
CE Electric connects the new street lights once they have been installed by another company.
Joan Anderson, GMB organiser, said, “These workers are totally underpaid in comparison with other workers in the rest of the utility industries.
“They work in a highly profitable industry and keep it going day in and day out while the proceeds go elsewhere.
“They have had enough of this and they want to see it sorted out once and for all.
There were talks at the Acas conciliation service as Socialist Worker went to press.
One-off payments aren’t enough
IWGB union members fight back
Anti-racist protests call for change
Many thought they could win more