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Balfour Beatty Asks Court to Block Strike by Construction Staff

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Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Balfour Beatty Plc, the U.K.’s biggest building company, sought a court order blocking a strike by construction workers over pay.

A London hearing today was adjourned until 2 p.m. in a clash over whether a vote held by the Unite union on the strike was legal.

Members of Unite employed by Balfour Beatty Engineering Services voted two to one in favor of a strike, the union said on its website on Feb. 2. Unite claims a new employment deal will lead to pay cuts of as much as 30 percent and worse terms for construction staff.

Strike action at the company may affect U.K. infrastructure projects including Crossrail, a London train line, and new power stations, Unite said.

At a Feb. 2 court hearing, Balfour Beatty’s lawyer Bruce Carr accused Unite of orchestrating illegal strikes in the past. There have been “unlawful occasions of industrial action for which we say Unite is responsible,” he said.

Unite spokeswoman Liane Groves didn’t immediately comment today. Balfour Beatty spokeswoman Marjorie Hooper didn’t immediately respond to a call requesting comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kit Chellel in London at cchellel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net