National Joint Council For Engineering Construction Adjourns Talks To 19 August As Strike Ballot At

5 Aug 2009

Talks in London yesterday at the NJC for the Engineering Construction Industry to avert a threatened strike in the industry were adjourned and will resume on August 19th. Before then there will be a national meeting of shop stewards from GMB and Unite representing 30,000 workers of the industry in London on 10th and 11th August to hear report backs from the meeting and to discuss arrangements for the strike ballot which is still going ahead.

There will also be a meeting on 12th August of local and national union officials with the employers to discuss the impasse at Lindsay Oil Refinery where the deal to end the unofficial dispute has not yet been implemented.

GMB yesterday (4th August) give seven days notice to contractors that it 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 has been 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.

GMB are balloting members because the employers’ 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 resumed talks on 19th August represent the last chance for the employers to avert this stoppage.

Workers in this industry have been victims of appalling bad management and they have been lied to on a regular basis. The skills register is needed to ensure that there are enough skilled workers to deliver the infrastructure projects needed by this nation. The pre-award auditing is needed to stop the lies. A pay freeze in not acceptable either.”

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.”