Jobless Welders For Power Station Jobs

3 May 2011

GMB calls for engineering construction jobs on Yorkshire power stations to be filled from a pool of 500 unemployed UK based welders.

Doosan Babcock have advised GMB that they have already identified welders from Far East and plan to offer them over 100 jobs though this job category is no longer on the official UK skill shortages list

GMB, the union for engineering construction workers, is to meet Doosan Babcock on Friday 6th May to insist that the company fill vacancies with UK based unemployed welders on the upcoming repair and maintenance work in the summer outages on the Drax and Ferrybridge power stations in North Yorkshire. Last week GMB wrote to Ministers and local MP’s asking them to take up the issue and put pressure on Doosan Babcock to recruit unemployed UK based workers for these jobs.

GMB has identified a pool of 500 highly skilled UK based welders who are unemployed and looking for work. Many are from the traditional industrial areas like Tyneside, Teeside, Wearside, Merseyside, Yorkshire and Humberside, South Wales and the Clyde and other parts of the UK.

Doosan Babcock has advised GMB that they have already identified a workforce from the Far East and plan to offer them over 100 jobs. As the category of welders has been removed from the most recent official Skills Shortage list for the UK it is not clear to GMB the legal basis on which Doosan Babcock can offer these non EU national work in the UK. The meeting on 6th May will be the third meeting on this matter.

Jimmy Skivington, GMB Regional Officer, who met the company on this matter said “GMB is concerned that, despite several meetings with us about their legal responsibilities, Doosan Babcock still intends to fill some of their jobs for welders on these two sites with non EU labour. This is despite this category of welders having been removed from the most recent official Skills Shortage list for the UK. They have advised us that they have already identified a workforce from a non EU country and plan to offer them over 100 jobs.

GMB has repeatedly asked the employer for evidence of their efforts to locate UKbased labour. GMB has asked that they show us evidence that they have placed job adverts in local, national and trade press and submitted vacancy notifications to the Job Centre Plus network – with little result.

GMB has taken a pro-active position on this and has advised our suitably qualified members to approach the company to apply for one of these positions. As a result almost 500 of our members advise us they have applied. We have told the employer that we will seek a report from each of these workers on how their application is treated by the company. We find it hard to believe that they cannot identify sufficient welders for their needs from this pool of UK based applicants and that they still have a shortfall that requires non EU labour to fill it. However Doosan’s advised us at our most recent meeting on 1st April that they are keeping this plan as a contingency. GMB is now concerned that an apparent breach of the regulations may be about to happen and have written to Government Ministers and local MP’s to alert them to this.

GMB meet the company for the third time on 6th May on this matter. GMB are seeking support from Ministers and MP’s to ensure our members who have applied for these vacancies receive fair treatment, and that the company meets its legal and moral obligations to the local community and the UK based workforce as a whole. This whole issue pinpoints the need to step up apprenticeships for the highly skilled engineering construction workforce that will be required to build the power stations and other infrastructure projects needed in the UK. With almost 1 million young workers on the dole the Government must insist that employers create and fill these apprenticeship places.”