The threat of industrial action at the Stanlow oil refinery in Cheshire has ended after members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, accepted a new deal which covers the issues of pay, bonuses and pensions.

Yes vote

Over 400 workers had overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action in September, returning a 98.5 per cent yes vote.

Once Unite had secured the mandate for industrial action, their employer Essar agreed to return to negotiations and following protracted talks, a comprehensive revised offer was put to members which was accepted, ending the strike threat.

Vastly improved offer

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This was a highly complicated dispute and it is good news that members of Unite have felt able to accept the vastly improved offer.

“Unite does exactly what it says on the union tin: fight to defend our members’ jobs, pay and conditions. The pay and conditions deal for workers at Stanlow demonstrates this approach is paying dividends for Unite members.”

Backdated pay

Workers have accepted a deal which provides a backdated pay increase from January 2021 of 1.5 per cent (the retail price index (RPI) rate for the October 2020 +0.2 per cent) and they will also receive a further pay increase of 6.2 per cent (the current RPI rate + 0.2 per cent) from January 2022.

With regards to the bonus payment which is part of the existing agreement and which Essar was attempting to avoid paying, this will now be paid in full. A satisfactory outcome on the pensions issue was also agreed.

Long-term transition 

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Mick Chalmers said: “The fantastic ballot result by our members was the catalyst to ensure that Essar had to enter into serious negotiations and a fair resolution could be agreed.

 “This deal is important in the long-term as it will greatly assist in the transition of Stanlow from being an oil refinery into a hub for low carbon energy.”


Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.