Labour Research September 2009


Unions see some progress in engineering construction talks

The Unite and GMB general unions were continuing with their strike ballot in the engineering construction industry as Labour Research went to press but there were clear signs of progress in negotiations.

The ballot of building and maintenance workers at a series of power stations and oil refineries around the country follows earlier unofficial action at the Lindsey refinery and elsewhere over access to jobs. The unions want to secure “fairness and long-term stability” in a sector that has been affected by the implementation of the European posted workers directive.

A meeting to discuss amendments to the NAECI national agreement held on 19 August agreed on four points and came to an agreement in principle on two others. The important principle of pre-award auditing was agreed and this should help monitor ‘Blue Book’ rates and benefits, ensuring that winning contractors have the ability to pay agreed rates.

However, GMB national secretary Phil Davies said: “more work is needed on the skills register in the context of an agreement to credential competencies and skills”.

On the 2010 pay rise, Davies made the point that: “This is not an industry that has suffered recession. The clients are making record profits and they can afford to pay a decent pay rise. The next meeting on 4 September has to resolve this matter to avert a stoppage”.