Around 150 M25 maintenance workers employed by Balfour Beatty are being balloted for strike action over pay, in a move which could result in severe disruption to traffic, union Unite is warning.

The ballot of the Balfour Beatty workers, who are responsible for the maintenance of the entire M25, is in response to Balfour Beatty’s pay offer of 3.4%.

With the real rate of inflation, RPI, at 4.9% Unite said that the offer amounts to a real terms pay cut. It added that the workers were particularly angry at the offer because last year they also received a below inflation pay rise.

In its latest trading update in December last year, Balfour Beatty said turnover for the full year is expected to be about 5% ahead of the prior year’s £8.9bn, with underlying profit broadly in line with 2022’s £232m.

The company also revealed that its order book at year end is also expected to be marginally higher than the £16.4bn reported at half year.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Balfour Beatty is an immensely profitable company that can afford to put forward an offer that reflects rising living costs.

”Its M25 workers have Unite’s total backing in demanding a fair pay rise.”

The workers will begin balloting this week and the vote will close on 12 March, with industrial action expected soon after.

Unite regional officer Phil Silkstone said: “Balfour Beatty can stop this dispute escalating and causing disruption to the smooth running of the M25 by tabling an acceptable offer. It has more than enough profits to do that.”

A Balfour Beatty spokesperson said: “We continue to work closely with Unite the Union to reach an appropriate outcome. As these discussions remain ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”