Construction workers target energy projects in ‘pay th...

Construction workers target energy projects in ‘pay the rate’ protests

29 February 2016

Two construction firms, Interserve and Babcock & Wilcox Vølund from Denmark, will come under fire tomorrow morning (Tuesday 1 March) for seeking to undermine industry wide national agreements in a series of protests outside major energy construction projects in Rotherham, Port Talbot and Dunbar.

The ‘pay the rate’ protests organised by construction unions Unite, GMB and Ucatt, follow claims that non-UK workers installing the main boilers on all three projects will be paid little more than the minimum wage, as opposed to the agreed rate of £16.64 per hour (plus £2.37 per hour bonus) covered by national agreements.

The protests at the joint venture’s three construction projects coincide with this week’s delivery of boiler panels to the Templeborough project in Rotherham. Set to run from 06:30 tomorrow morning, the protests will be taking place at the following locations:

  • Templeborough energy project, Sheffield Road, Rotherham S60 1DP 
  • Margam green energy plant. Main entrance: Longlands Lane, Harbour Way, Margam, SA13 2SU – off J38-M4
  • The Oxwellmains energy from waste plant near Dunbar, Lothian EH42 1SW

As part of the joint venture, Danish firm Babcock & Wilcox Vølund awarded the Croatian company Ðuro Ðavokic the contract to manufacture and install the main boilers for all three energy plants.

The three unions are calling on the contractors to adhere to national minimum standards negotiated through the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) and the National Agreement Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI).

Unions are also calling on the contractors to guarantee that workers on the project will be employed directly to stop workers being exploited by bogus self-employment schemes run by sub-contractors, employment agencies and ‘umbrella’ payment companies.

Unite national officer for construction, Bernard McAulay said: “The contractors on this project are actively seeking to undermine the pay and conditions of skilled workers through their refusal to abide by industry wide agreements.

“Paying fellow European workers just above the minimum wage when the agreed rate is over double is completely unacceptable and smacks of exploitation and social dumping.

“Under national agreements for the industry there is one rate for the job, no matter where you are from. These agreements maintain minimum standards, help retain and develop skills, and train the next generation of apprentices, while halting a race to the bottom in the industry.

“Interserve and Babcock & Wilcox Vølund’s refusal to abide by these agreements points to a desire to undercut wages and has the potential to be deeply divisive.

“We would urge them to think again and do the right thing by agreeing to sign up to industry wide agreements and guarantee the right of all workers to equal pay irrespective of where they come from.” 


Notes to editors: 

For the Welsh protest: please contact Unite regional officer Bryan Godsell on 

07958 515333
For the Rotherham protest: please contact Unite regional officer Chris Weldon 07958 701268
For the Dunbar protest: please contact Unite Scottish press officer Peter Welsh on 07810 157931

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email:
  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.