Serious concerns about the employment and recruitment practices at the energy-from-waste plant being built at the Wilton complex on Teesside have been expressed by Unite, the country’s largest union.
The crux of the dispute is that the construction project, a joint venture between Sita and Sembcorp, is being built outside of the terms of all the national agreements (CIJC and NAECI) for the construction industry which have been in place for more than 30 years.
Unite has members working on the £200 million energy-from-waste plant and is critical about the lack of access to workers at the project. This follows on-going concerns about undercutting of wage rates and the failure to abide by the recognised national agreements.
Unite is also worried at the lack of job opportunities for people from the local community. The union would like to see all the companies taking the lead on apprenticeships and ensuring opportunities are available for young people.
There also appears to be a high number of agency labour onsite operating through umbrella companies who are employed with no employment rights.
A public meeting called by Construction Activists Committee on Teesside will be held on Saturday (18 April) at Majuba car park in Redcar TS10 5BJ starting at 10.00 for an update on the current situation. Officers from Unite, the GMB and Ucatt will be in attendance.
Unite regional officer Steve Cason said “The public meeting is to inform people of developments at the plant - a joint venture by Sita and Sembcorp which has been dogged by a lack of transparency as to their employment and recruitment practices.
“Talks were held this week with the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority, which awarded the 30-year £1.2 billion contract to Sita to turn waste into energy. The talks centred on access to the workforce, rates of pay and welfare facilities for all workers.
“Other issues raised included bonus and overtime rates, as well as holiday pay and the contractors have been asked to provide answers to these questions.
“Our members have expressed serious concern about the lack of opportunity to train the next generation of apprenticeships to acquire the skills and experience to maintain these plants in the future.
“We call on the Sita and Sembcorp management to genuinely engage with us in meaningful and constructive talks, and adhere to the tried-and- tested national agreements.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
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.