Workers at the Fawley oil refinery will be striking for 24 hours tomorrow (Thursday 14 July) in a dispute that sees foreign workers being exploited and paid half that of UK workers at the Southampton site.
About 20 specialist workers, employed by Italian company Nico Industrial Services Ltd, will strike for 24 hours from 00.01 tomorrow at the Esso refinery. Another 24 hour stoppage is scheduled for Wednesday 27 July. This is being accompanied an overtime ban from 18-29 July.
Unite, the country’s largest union, said that the Nico workers, mainly Bulgarians and Italians, are being paid about £48 for a 10 hour-day, while the 270 other workers on the site, employed by other contractors, are on about £125-a-day. Ironically, British workers employed by Nico are paid the £125-a-day rate.
The effect of the strike will be to slow up the site’s refining process as the specialist striking workers clean out the catalyst converter tanks.
Unite regional officer Malcolm Bonnett said: “What we have here is a group of workers, who were transferred to Nico, being blatantly exploited by an employer paying less than half the going rate compared with the 270 other contract workers on the site, who are covered by national and regional agreements.
“This dispute is about trade union recognition so that our members working for Nico receive equality of pay and terms and conditions. This is a dispute about basic fairness in the workplace.
“We call on the Nico management to get around the table and talk about these important issues and avoid this dispute escalating.
“Unite won’t stand by and see foreign workers being ripped off in such a grotesque manner. We won’t countenance a race to the bottom in wages by unscrupulous bosses.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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.