Wildcat walkouts hit UK oil refineries and power stations – Auto Republish

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A wave of wildcat strikes by subcontracted workers broke out across refineries and power stations in the UK Wednesday, amid continuing walkouts by Amazon workers. Workers are protesting wages falling massively behind the spiralling cost of living.

The sites affected are covered by the National Agreement for the Engineering and Construction Industry (NAECI), concluded by the Unite and GMB unions with the Engineering and Construction Industry Association (ECIA) in August 2021.

The “Blue Book” agreement was cheered by Jock Simpson, the chairman of the National Joint Council for the Engineering and Construction Industry, as the “means of managing labour relationships to deliver project completions to time and budget” and as the “key to industrial relations stability”. Its key objective is to enable the UK engineering construction industry to remain “globally competitive”, with a “productive and competitive workforce”.

The agreement grants a pay rise of just 2.5 percent in January 2022 and another 2.5 percent in January 2023. Inflation is nearly 12 percent and rising rapidly.

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A leaflet distributed by striking workers demanded, “We deserve a decent pay rise” and explained that the action was “in response to the ECIA’s refusal to recognise the impact of the cost of living crisis on its workers.”

Denouncing a “real terms pay cut of at least 10 percent,” the workers said they were being expected to “just get on with it.”

“Some of us worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country running, some of us were made redundant” while the rest “took a pay freeze”. The employers “have point blank refused” to make another offer, the statement continues, “We cannot allow this cavalier attitude to continue.”

The leaflet concludes, “Clients are making record profits. Inflation at a 40 year high. People before profits.”

Strikers intend to walk out every other Wednesday until their demands are met.

Union leaders reportedly raised concerns with the employers this May about how explosive the situation was but were told to wait until 2024. They meekly and predictably complied.

Action has been taken unofficially.

In Fife, Scotland, around 250 workers at the Mossmorran ExxonMobil refinery took part, gathering outside the plant and blocking the road. One told The Courier, “Contractors were deemed essential workers during the pandemic and played a vital part in keeping the Mossmorran plant operating.”

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Resident-led action group seeking redress from the long-term social, health and environmental impacts from the Mossmorran facilities in Central Fife operated by ExxonMobil (Fife Ethylene Plant) and Shell (Fife NGL).


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