Dispute at Shell’s UK research centre set to escalate

Dispute at Shell’s UK research centre set to escalate

18 January 2013

Maintenance workers - employees of Eurest Support Services (ESS) - at the Shell Thornton research centre in Cheshire will be taking further industrial action on Monday (21 January) against bullying tactics by bosses.

The maintenance workers, numbering about 20, will be striking from 07.00 until 09.00 on Monday outside the Shell Thornton Research Centre, Poole Lane, Ince, Chester CH2 4NU.

Unite members working at the nearby Essar Energy and Growhow businesses have vowed to support the workers in the escalating dispute against ESS.

Unite said that the ESS workers - part of the worldwide Compass Group - have been subjected by Compass bosses to bullying tactics to intimidate them as part of their attack on unionised workers. This has led to staff going off sick with stress and anxiety.

The company is also refusing to respond to any grievances registered by Unite and ignoring its legal recognition agreement at the site.

The maintenance workers have taken industrial action over the Christmas period and more is threatened after Monday’s action – unless the management gets around the negotiating table.

Unite regional officer Graham Daley said: “I am appalled at Compass management’s attitude towards the union and its attacks on their loyal workforce.

“Our members have had enough of the threats and bullying tactics and feel the only response to such intimidation is to escalate strike action.

“They will stand shoulder-to-shoulder on Monday to voice their anger and determination to fight these attacks.

“Unite is calling for the EES management to engage in urgent talks with its workers and stop all the harassment of its members.”

The maintenance workers’ dispute with ESS started after the company reneged on its agreed offer to pay RPI at 3.5 per cent and then paid two per cent, ignoring the agreed bargaining process.

The members are also concerned that their employment will be terminated to avoid the TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking Protection of Employment) obligations of the incoming employer when the site transfers ownership which is expected to be in the first half of 2013.


For further information please contact Graham Daley on 07958 624 157 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693 940. 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.