Engineering construction

Industry and workers

Industrial news in brief

Cinema workers at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton have announced 11 April as the date for the first strike in their dispute over pay.

Members of BECTU at the cinema have conducted a long-running campaign to win the London Living Wage of £8.80 an hour. The typical hourly rate at the Ritzy is currently £7.24.

Workers voted to strike by an 85% majority.

Sparks win contract fight

Electricians working at a Network Rail construction site in Three Bridges, Sussex won new contracts following a wildcat strike on 4 April.

Cinema workers strike; sparks win contract fight; Doncaster care workers to strike again.

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More battles for construction workers

Plumbers and heating and ventilation engineers in the Unite union have overwhelmingly rejected a below-inflation pay offer, with their union threatening to move to an industrial action ballot unless the offer is improved.

The Building and Engineering Services Association (BESA) is offering a two-year deal with a freeze in the first year and a 1.5 percent increase in the second year, despite what Unite calls their “healthy profit margins and order books”. Workers rejected the deal by a margin of nine to one.

Plumbers and heating and ventilation engineers in the Unite union have overwhelmingly rejected a below-inflation pay offer, with their union threatening to move to an industrial action ballot unless the offer is improved.

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Sparks win as contractors cave

The attempt by the UK’s major construction contractors to impose a new collective agreement for mechanical and electrical construction workers has collapsed after the remaining six companies followed industry leader Balfour Beatty Engineering Services in performing an embarrassing u-turn.

The attempt by major construction contractors to impose a new collective agreement for mechanical and electrical workers has collapsed after a rank-and-file committee organised impressive pickets, protests and wildcat strikes.

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Sparks vote to strike

Electricians working for Balfour Beatty Engineering Services have voted by 81% to take strike action in their battle against their employer’s attempt to unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Industry Board (JIB), the body which oversees union-negotiated pay and conditions.

Electricians working for Balfour Beatty Engineering Services have voted to take strike action against the employer’s attempt to withdraw from the body which oversees union-negotiated pay and conditions.

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Site workers gain confidence

Four hundred workers took part in a protest on Monday 26 September at the Lindsey Oil Refinery as the campaign against the plan by eight big contractors to cut pay for construction electricians continues.

The 400 included some workers from West Burton and Saltend who had taken wildcat strike action to join the protest.

Protests were also held at the Manchester Town Hall construction site and the Tyne Tunnel site in Newcastle (where the tunnel was briefly blockaded) on 22 September.

Four hundred workers have taken part in a protest at the Lindsey Oil Refinery against the plan by eight big contractors to cut pay for construction electricians.

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Construction bosses go to war against workers

The UK’s major electrical and mechanical contractors have launched an unprecedented attack on collective bargaining by attempting to unilaterally impose a new agreement on the industry.

The contractors, which include industry leaders such as Balfour Beatty, wrote to workers in late July announcing their intention to impose new agreements.

Electrical and mechanical contractors have launched an unprecedented attack on collective bargaining by attempting to unilaterally impose a new agreement on the industry.

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Saltend ends

The Saltend workers’ dispute has come to a frustrating end after nearly three months.

The 400 locked-out construction workers failed to win back their jobs at the refinery site in Hull after their employer Redhall Services Ltd was axed by the Vivergo consortium.

Vivergo has improved the payout it was offering workers, and most have now accepted. Certainly, it would not have done that without sustained picketing at the site and other action elsewhere.

The Saltend workers’ dispute has come to a frustrating end after nearly three months.

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Saltend workers in court protest

Saltend workers demonstrated outside Hull Magistrates’ Court hearing on 17 May for GMB national officer Phil Whitehurst who was arrested on a picket on 4 May.

Whitehurst had been taking part in the regular pickets over the lockout of 430 workers from the failed £200m Vivergo Fuels Ltd bio-ethanol fuel plant project.

Workers demonstrated outside Hull Magistrates’ Court hearing on 17 May as a GMB national officer appeared following his arrested on a picket line.

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BP locks out engineering construction workers

A senior GMB union official was arrested on 4 May as police stepped up their attempts to break up protests by locked-out workers at the Saltend biofuels plant construction site.

Workers have been demonstrating since 14 March, when their employer — Redhall Engineer Solutions — had its contract with Vivergo, the BP-led consortium building the plant, terminated.

A senior GMB union official was arrested on 4 May as police stepped up their attempts to break up protests by locked-out workers at the Saltend biofuels plant construction site.

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Engineering construction: correction and update

In our article on conditions in engineering construction (Solidarity 3-166) it was not unambiguously clear that employers are not using the Posted Workers Directive as such to attack workers. Rather they have used loopholes in the Posted Workers Directive created by recent European Court of Justice rulings. (We said the Directive had been “amended” by the court).

Rather than using the Posted Workers Directive as such to attack workers in engineering construction, employers have used loopholes in the Posted Workers Directive created by recent European Court of Justice rulings.

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New struggles and old issues in construction engineering

Author: 

Dave Kirk

An audit demanded by Unite and GMB unions into the pay of workers building a new gas turbine power station at Staythorpe in Nottinghamshire has showed that a sub-contractor (Somi) is paying its Italian workers less than UK rates for the job —by an average of 1,300 euros a month.

These workers are “posted workers” — sent by their employer to work in a different country on a temporary basis. Unions believe these workers are being used to undercut wages and conditions in the industry.

The GMB called a demonstration in London on 3 February. It was promoted by the noxious, union-busting, right-wing Daily Star as a “British Jobs For British Workers” demo. But what are the industrial issues?

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New struggles — and old issues — in construction engineering

Author: 

David Kirk

Workers and union officials in the engineering construction industry long suspected it, but now they have proof. Sub-contractors in the industry have been paying some "posted workers" (workers who are sent by their employer to work in a different country on a temporary basis) substantially less then nationally agreed rates for the job.

Italian workers building a power station at Staythorpe are being paid less than the agreed wage rates. The GMB's demonstration on 3 February is being promoted by the Daily Star as a "British Jobs for British Workers" event. What should socialists say?

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