Saltend Lockout Demonstration

1 Apr 2011

GMB will be holding a protest and demonstration on Monday, 4th April 2011 at the Hull BP construction site where 430 members are locked out. GMB call on BP, Du Point and British Sugar to join with unions in order to get engineering construction members back to work on the £200m bio fuel ethanol plant at Saltend, Hull.

GMB is to hold an official protest and demonstration outside the locked gates of the BP construction site in Saltend in Hull where 430 construction workers are locked out. At a meeting with the project manager, part of the Jacob Group, on Wednesday 30th March GMB officials made clear that the way to resolve this lock out is for the workers to be allowed to go back to work. The demonstration and protest will be held from:

6 am on Monday, 4th April 2011outside the Vivergo Fuels Limited site, Saltend, Hedon Road, Hull, HU12 8DS.

BP, Du Point and British Sugar make up a consortium Vivergo Fuels Ltd which is client for this project. Vivergo Fuels Ltd awarded the contract to manage the project to Aker Process part of the US Jacob Group. The role of the project managers is to source tenders for the contract to build the plant. The engineering construction workforce were employed by a range of contractors under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry. Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd was awarded the contract for mechanical piping within the scope of work in February 2010 with 316 manual workers and 134 staff workers. Other contractors are DSL (Deborah Services Ltd) Scaffolding with 63 manual workers, SEC Electrical 40 manual workers, Syntex Engineering Services with 17 manual workers, FB Taylor with 10 manual workers and Mammoet Cranes with 15 manual workers .

On 11th March notice was served upon Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd by Vivergo Fuels Ltd for performance related issues, thereby terminating any agreement between themselves and Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd. Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd issued a communiqué to the workers stating that as from 07.31 on Monday 14 March 2011 they will no longer be employed by them and should turn up for work to be transferred under TUPE legislation to either Vivergo Fuels Ltd or any contractor that is given the contract. When the members turned up for work on Monday 14th March, Aker Process Ltd on behalf of Vivergo Fuels Ltd denied any liability to employ the transferred staff.  This left GMB members in an impossible situation in that they were locked out and have not received any wages since 07.31 a.m. on 14th March 2011. Workers from the other contractors have been sent home on full pay.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said, “If it looks like an attack on workers’ rights and it smells like an attack on workers’ rights then it most certainly is an attack on workers’ rights. There are growing fears that this ‘lock out’ is nothing more than a ruse to bring in a different, lower paid workforce and the sacking of Redhalls was a smokescreen to give this cover. It is vitally important that Jacobs, BP and the other clients join with GMB to get this workforce back to work and dispel these fears.

When the project manager, Jacobs, terminated their contract with Redhall Engineering Solutions last month the workforce should have been transferred under TUPE transfer rules to the new contractor so that they could complete the work. Instead the project manager put a padlock on the gate of the site and have been locked out since then.

GMB officials met the project manager this week and made clear that the way to resolve this official dispute is for the ‘lock out’ to end and the workers to be allowed to go back to work. This is what happens on all other sites when there is a fall out between contractors. GMB officials are available at any time today or over the weekend to meet to resolve this dispute.

GMB earlier called on BP, Du Point and British Sugar to intervene to allay increasing fears that this £200m engineering construction project to build a bio fuel ethanol plant for them at the Saltend Site in Hull will be the scene of another Lindsey type dispute with the project manager Jacobs replacing the UK based labour force building the site with exploited overseas labour.  In 2009 Lindsey Oil Refinery was involved in a dispute over the exclusion of UKworkers from the site to be replaced with lower paid overseas workers.”