Wildcat strikes raise their head again

Lindsey oil refinery protestShocking stuff just in from the GMB union: Workers on engineering construction sites have rejected the new pay and conditions offer put to them by their union shop stewards just a few weeks ago (which I wrote about below at the time).

This means that those 30,000 workers think they deserve a better deal from the employers – and are prepared to strike, officially or unofficially, to get it.

The union bosses though it was a good deal, and told me so. A pay rise scheduled to be above inflation, increased rights for union officials to instigate grievance proceedings, and a promise to pre-audit companies to make sure they were prepared to pay according to the national rate. “We’ve got what we want on auditing”, said GMB national secretary Phil Davies, one of the union negotiators. GMB and Unite shop stewards agreed.

Judging by the GMB press release put out this morning, part of which appears below, the workers aren’t happy at the lack of a promise to have an unemployed workers’ register to use to fill vacancies – the employers only promised them a working party to look at it, as I recall.

This news seems to confirm what I said in my last blogpost on the subject – it really does look as if the unions, and the workers, have employers over a barrel in this growing sector. More wildcat strikes perhaps. Be interesting if wind farm building sites come under the sector (I have asked Unite, but didn’t get a definite answer)…

The 30,000 engineering construction workforce have voted to reject the employers offer on pay and conditions in workplace individual ballots held over the past two weeks. The offer was in response to claims from the unions GMB and Unite… Workers on seven sites have already voted for industrial action in pursuit of the claim…

Phil Davies GMB National Secretary said “The members want more progress on the skills and unemployment registers and they want to copper-fasten the pre award audit to screen out employers who plan to undercut the agreed rates and terms and conditions.

“The employer’s offer of working parties on the registers is seen as jam tomorrow and the members no longer trust the employers to deliver.

“The members want the package to be completed now so that they can see what they are getting. The next step is to go back to the employers to see if they are up for further talks.”

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