Trade unionists are planning to campaign against Wiltshire Council’s highways contractor Balfour Beatty’s decision to ignore them.

Balfour Beatty, which took on the £25m-a-year contact, last June, sent an email to Unison, Unite and the GMB informing them they will now be negotiating with staff internally and that it does not recognise an agreement which was in place with the council.

Since Balfour Beatty started overseeing Wiltshire’s highways maintenance around 300 staff have been transferred from the council and previous contractor English Landscapes.

Organisations GMB, Unison and Unite are sending back a joint letter to Balfour Beatty explaining their anger and requesting the company reconsider their plans.

Carole Vallelly, GMB organising officer for Wiltshire, said: “This means that our members have lost all their collective bargaining as well as pay and condition negotiations support.

"In theory, this allows Balfour Beatty to decide not to give pay rises out with no form of redress.”

Sue Anderson, Wiltshire Unison secretary, said: “We are not happy about Balfour Beatty’s stance and we have requested a meeting to discuss the issue.”

Balfour Beatty Living Places said that it addresses any issues staff may have through its staff association and employee forums.

A spokesperson said: “We are satisfied that this procress ensures that employees can share their views with us and that we can take them into account in our plans.

“Naturally we also recognise that employees may wish to join a trade union.

"We respect their right to do so, and we already work informally and closely with a number of unions in a number of our other contracts.

"We are very happy to continue to do so here in Wiltshire but we do not propose to enter into any formal recognition agreement.“

Wiltshire councillor Phillip Whitehead, portfolio holder for the highways contract, said that because the transferred staff have been integrated into Balfour Beatty there was no requirement under the transfer of undertakings to work with trade unions.

He said: “There is no deterioration of terms of conditions of these staff as appropriate alternative staff consultation mechanisms are in place.”