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GMB Gives Notice Of Strike Ballot For Engineering Construction Members At Power Station And Oil Refi

4 Aug 2009

The aim of the strike is to eliminate discrimination, unfair treatment and exploitation in this industry as Total renege on the deal that settled June Lindsey Oil Refinery dispute. GMB will give seven days notice to contractors on 4th August 2009 that the ballot will begin on 11th August to conduct an official strike ballot of engineering construction members working in the building and maintenance of Britain’s power stations and oil refinery sites. Notice will be given that GMB members working for contractors at the following sites will be balloted: BP FPS Grangemouth and Ineos Grangemouth in Scotland, Sellafield, Shell UK Stanlow and Staythorpe RWE in Nottinghamshire and Chevron Pembroke and Aberthaw in Wales. (Unite will also ballot its members on the same sites with the same timetable.)

The ballot will run from 11th August 2009 and end on 1st September. Any agreed industrial action will follow shortly after that date. There is a scheduled meeting of the NJC on 4th August to discuss the dispute.

GMB, and Unite, is balloting members because the employer’s body, the Engineering Construction Industry Association (ECIA) has rejected the union’s key demands for improvements to the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI), which would deliver fairness and long term stability to the sector.

Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary added. “The ballot follows months of industrial unrest and unofficial action at sites across the country due to unscrupulous employers refusing local workers access to apply for work and undercutting the NAECI agreement.

The anger, frustration and mistrust between the employers and union members has been made a lot worse by the action of Total in reneging on the deal that led to the settlement of the unofficial dispute at Lindsay. Total management now claim that the agreement to provide work on site for those facing redundancy at Lindsay was a “mistake”. All other parties to these talks insist that there was indeed an agreement.

Is it any wonder that employees in this industry no longer believe the employers? That is why GMB is insisting on pre award auditing to ensure that contractors can pay agreed rates.”

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary added, “The anger and frustration felt by both workers and bona fida employers in the engineering construction industry at the misuse and exploitation of migrant labour has now been boiling over for many months as witnessed on several sites across the country.

The objective of this dispute is to eliminate discrimination, unfair treatment and exploitation in this industry of workers where ever they come from. A robust and transparent auditing process is the only way of forcing these employers to break from their bad habits. This is not a skills issue, this is not a foreign worker issue, it is about fairness and adhering to agreed standards.”