Class Struggles in Scotland:

Shetland gas plant workers vote for industrial action

22 June 2018

Members of the Unite union at Total’s Shetland gas plant have voted to take industrial action.

It comes amid a row over working patterns.

Unite said members had “emphatically” voted for industrial action.

On Monday it was announced workers on three offshore platforms operated by Total were being balloted on possible industrial action. Members on the Alwyn, Elgin and Dunbar installations are having pay and conditions reviewed.

That ballot closes on 28 June.

Workers at Dumfries and Galloway Council gearing up for strike action after “unacceptable” pay offer

Union officials at the GMB say 92 per cent of their members across the country have rejected the offer

Dumfries and Galloway Council HQ Offices in English Street, Dumfries (Image: Jim McEwan)

Council workers are gearing up for strike action after rejecting an “unacceptable” pay offer.

Union officials at the GMB revealed their vote resulted in a “resounding rejection” by 92 per cent of their members across all Scotland’s 32 councils.

GMB Scotland’s senior organiser Drew Duffy dismissed the three per cent pay rise on the table for all workers earning up to £36,500 and said: “Our members deserve better than that.

“Backed by this mandate, the GMB will now take forward our campaign for fair pay and prepare for targeted industrial actions in local services across the country.”

The ballot result was delivered after six weeks of consultation with 30,000 local government employees. The services that could be hit include school cleaners, pupil support assistants, plus maintenance and refuse staff.

The GMB has notified the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) of their intention to push for strikes in a potential summer of discontent.

Mr Duffy branded the pay offer “unfair” and said it was a major test of the Scottish Government’s public pay policy.

The three-way offer was:

A three per cent rise for all employees earning up to £36,500;

A two per cent increase for all workers earning between £36,501 and £80,000;

And a payment of £1,600 for those on more than £80,000.
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Mr Duffy added: “Left unchallenged, this offer will increase the pay of the highest grades by £1,600, while staff on the lowest grades
will get between £250 and £600.

“This is a clear and resounding rejection by members of a blatantly unfair and unacceptable offer.

“Further talks have been earmarked but we aren’t going to wait and hope for a change.”


24th June

SCOTLAND’S petrol supplies are under threat from a bitter industrial dispute

Hundreds of drivers working for Hoyer UK – a company that delivers fuel from Grangemouth to filling stations across Scotland – are considering strike action.

The action by fuel tanker drivers would be aimed at halting Hoyer’s petrol deliveries from the site.

Hoyer also delivers fuel to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Newcastle Airports from Grangemouth.

Any strike would also put those supplies at risk.

The dispute centres around changes to the terms and conditions of fuel tanker drivers.

Unite the union members have lodged a formal dispute with Hoyer, over a deal that it says will cut drivers’ annual pay from over £40,000 to £28,000.

The firm has been given 14 days to hold talks with the union, before it calls a ballot on industrial action.

A Unite source said more than 200 drivers were ready to strike.

The union insider said any industrial action would aim to halt all deliveries.

However, the dispute could spread to other fuel transporters from Grangemouth, due to discontent among drivers about working conditions, it was claimed.

Grangemouth owner Ineos is not directly in dispute with the union.

However, the multinational firm’s operation near Falkirk would face major disruption.

“The offer to drivers can only be described as an insult,” the Unite source said.

“We’re in dispute now, but there’s a real chance of strike action that would spread to other contractors and cause major disruption.

“It would also have real consequences for Ineos as it’s petrol would no longer be delivered.

“This would have a huge impact.”

The dispute comes nearly five years after industrial action at Grangemouth led to a threat by Ineos to close the site completely.

In October 2013, the company’s chairman and founder Jim Ratcliffe announced the complex would be closed with the loss of about 800 jobs.

The decision was later reversed after workers agreed to a survival plan which included a three-year pay freeze.


Scottish councils strike threat as pay deal rejected

19 June 2018

Council workers have rejected the 2018 pay offer put forward by local government body Cosla.

The GMB union said 92% of its members across the country had voted against the offer and would now “carry forward” plans for industrial action.

The offer included a 3% pay rise for all employees earning up to £36,500 and 2% for those earning between £36,501 and £80,000.

A Cosla spokesman said the rejection of the offer was “disappointing”.

“We negotiate for the general local government workforce through the SJC [Scottish Joint Council for Local Government Employees] – of which GMB are a part,” he said.

Cosla said it noted the result and that discussions would continue.

‘Targeted action’

The GMB has notified Cosla and the Scottish government of the rejection of the deal, which also proposed a flat rate increase of £1,600 for all employees earning more than £80,000.

The result was delivered following a six-week consultation of GMB’s 30,000 local government members, including home carers, school cleaners, pupil support assistants, roads and maintenance and refuse staff.

GMB Scotland senior organiser Drew Duffy said the union would now prepare for “targeted industrial action” across the country.

“This is a clear and resounding rejection by our members of a blatantly unfair and unacceptable pay offer but it should come as no surprise to anyone,” he said.

“Further talks between the local government joint trade unions, Cosla and the Scottish government have been earmarked but we aren’t going to wait and hope for a change.”

Offshore platform workers balloted on industrial action

18 June 2018

Workers on three offshore platforms operated by oil firm Total are being balloted on possible industrial action.

The Unite union said members on the Alwyn, Elgin and Dunbar installations are having pay and conditions reviewed.

The union said it includes proposals to change rotas.

A spokesperson for Total said a consultation process was under way with the workforce. The ballot closes on 28 June.

Hundreds expected to protest outside Deeside construction site this week
Published: Sunday, May 27th, 2018
Trade Union representatives say hundreds of construction workers are expected to take part in the latest protest at the £800m Parc Adfer energy from waste construction site.

Unite say its members and those from other trade unionists will stage the protest at the site on Deeside Industrial Park on Wednesday from 5.30am.

The protest is over what Unite claim is the “continuing exploitation of the site’s workforce, which is creating a ‘race to the bottom’ on pay and conditions.”

The union claims those working on the construction of the new incinerator plant are being paid as little as £8.75 an hour “which means that workers are potentially receiving 63 per cent below the agreed standard construction rate of £17.39 for this type of mechanical engineering construction work.” Unite says.

CNIM has been appointed by American firm Wheelabrator to deliver the Park Adfer project on behalf of their client, North Wales Residual Waste Treatment Partnership which is led by Flintshire county council and includes Conwy borough council, Denbighshire county council, Gwynedd county council and Isle of Anglesey county council.

Unite has been applying pressure on the local authorities involved in the project and local politicians to demand the companies involved to begin paying the correct rates and abiding by the correct construction agreement.

Unite regional officer Steve Benson said: “It is appalling that workers are being exploited through low pay on a project ultimately funded by the taxpayer.

“Unite has been working to resolve the exploitation on the site but we have been met with warm words but no action.

Workers are receiving a pittance compared to what they should be receiving for the work they are undertaking.

By failing to comply with the correct industrial agreements the companies are undermining pay rates across the entire industry and creating a race to the bottom.

The local authorities need to stop pretending to look the other way and to take responsibility for the exploitation and misery that is being created on their watch.”

CNIM has hit back at Unite’s claims, a spokesperson for the French company said:
“The claim that CNIM excludes local workers is also not true. We held a jobs fair in May, which was attended by more than 150 people and since then, we have had an additional 120 people express interest in contracts.

Many of these contracts are still not yet let so to suggest they are not going to local companies or workers is clearly wrong.

We have been working according to the Welsh Government Code of Conduct, which sets out best practice for projects like this.

This position is supported by the Unions and we also require our sub-contractors to work to the same guidelines.

There are 30 local companies who are currently or have been employed on site, and there will be more to come.

CNIM does not compromise health and safety on its sites and we dispute that health and safety, welfare provision and training is being undermined at Parc Adfer.

We have had inspections from the local authority and HSE, which were exemplary.”


24 April 2018

RMT Press Office:

RMT confirms industrial action at Paisley and Dunfermline over CCTV safety threat

Rail union RMT confirmed today that members will be taking strike action at Paisley and Dunfermline in a dispute over staff reductions and an attack on working patterns that the union says would seriously compromise public safety.

Scotrail have been determined to axe core CCTV staff at both locations with 17 staff posts identified for the chop with remaining staff then expected to tear apart their work-life balance and domestic arrangements at the whim of the company through agreeing to major changes to working practices including enforced night shifts.

The attack on CCTV services comes at a time of a surge in anti-social behaviour, assaults on staff and passengers and a heightened security risk across the transport network.

Following an overwhelming vote for action, and a failure by the company to listen to their staff, RMT has confirmed that members at Paisley and Dunfermline will take strike action by refusing to book on for shifts that commence between:

· 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Saturday 5th May

· 06.00 hours on Monday 11th June and 05.59 hours on Tuesday 12th June.

‎RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said:

“It defies belief that in the current climate, where anti-social behaviour, assaults and security threats are rife, that Scotrail would be decimating their CCTV operations in this cavalier fashion.

“RMT members concerns are being ignored by the company and as a result we have no option but to confirm this programme of industrial action.

“RMT remains available for talks but it is now down to Scotrail to start listening, recognise the seriousness of this issue and engage on a serious and meaningful basis with the union.”

Offshore worker sent home from North Sea rig after discovering “blacklist”
Written by Allister

The Claymore platform

A union boss has questioned the culture of a North Sea operator, after a worker claimed he was removed from a platform after discovering a “blacklist”.

The list, which contained the names of 15 offshore workers, was found last month on the Claymore platform, operated by Repsol Sinopec Resources UK (RSRUK).

A rope access rigger, who did not wish to be named, discovered the document on a shared drive in a communal computer area on the installation.

He says he then took it to management and was later told to leave the platform following a disagreement, with four days left on his rota.

“No evidence” of blacklisting on Mariner says union boss
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Workers evacuated from North Sea platform due to water supply issue

The document did not contain explanations for the inclusion of each of the 15 workers’ names.

But two workers were said not to have passed their first trip assessment and another was described as “aggressive”.

RSRUK says it has taken the allegation “very seriously” and will be “reinforcing existing guidance” at all of its sites to ensure correct practices are carried out.

The firm added that its investigation has found “no evidence” to suggest any personnel have been treated unfairly.

Management met with union officials to discuss the matter yesterday.

Unite regional officer John Boland said there is a “cultural issue” that needs to be addressed.

“The thing is that for someone to put it on a Repsol spread sheet, that person must have thought that is fine to do, so there is a culture there.

“In my view it is secondary blacklisting, it’s associated.

“There’s nothing illegal in what they are doing, but it is a moral issue.

“The simple situation is if that happens then the likelihood is this person will be laid off by their company. You could have someone with 30 years’ service and an operator like Repsol could say they don’t want someone there for them.

“That’s the problem in the system that’s there at the moment.

“They said they were going to put a procedure in place. It’s a small step but it’s a step in the right direction.”

In 2009, an agreement was reached between industry officials and union leaders to ban the practice of blacklisting – known colloquially as NRBd (not required back) – to help encourage whistleblowers with safety concerns.

The man who discovered the list, who has worked offshore for over 22 years, is currently suspended with full pay, pending an investigation.

He said: “It’s outrageous in this day and age that someone could ruin their career over a personality clash.

“If their company gets a whiff of this in HR, it could basically ruin their careers, I was disappointed by that approach from management.

“If somebody had a personality clash with someone at one time or another, they have been victimised.

“I spoke to one or two of the guys on the list and they were absolutely oblivious to it.

“People could end up losing their careers, if anything happens there should be a disciplinary process taken.

“I met with the Heli Admin first and then I took it to the team leader and we had a disagreement. All of a sudden they tried to take it off the computers downstairs.

“They weren’t happy that I was talking to people about it on the platform.”




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