More than 3,000 engineering construction workers, operating under the National Agreement for Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI), are being balloted for strike action over pay.
Workers are angry the value of their pay has been progressively falling since the pandemic under the NAECI, said Unite.
During Covid, they agreed to a pay freeze even though they provided essential services throughout.
In January 2022, they received a two-year pay deal of 2.5 per cent for 2022 and again for 2023.
Unite began preparing for formal industrial action proceedings when it became clear the two-year deal put forward for 2024 and 2025 averaging 6 per cent per year was rejected by 92 per cent of the membership.
“This offer is completely unacceptable when the industries involved are awash with profits,” said Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham. “It does nothing to reverse the shrinking value of these workers’ wages over successive years or that higher pay elsewhere is causing workforce shortages.
“It also ties these workers into gambling on the economy and inflation in 2024 and 2025 when their finances have already been battered by increasingly unpredictable market forces. Unite stands rock solid with our NAECI members – the employers’ must come back with an acceptable offer.”
The ballots for strike action begin opening on 13 September and will close in mid-October, with strike action scheduled to start later that month.
Unite national officer, Jason Poulter, added: “The anger amongst our membership is such that we are balloting for strike action. The employers must acknowledge that without a better offer, falling recruitment and retention for NAECI roles will only get worse.
“Any disruption caused by potential strikes lies squarely at their door – a much improved offer needs to be put forward if this dispute is not to escalate into widespread industrial action.”
A list of locations is available here.
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