Scaffold workers employed by Altrad at the Mitsubishi Chemicals plant in Billingham, Teesside, will strike in November and December over a ‘shocking pay disparity’, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Thursday 21 October).

The basic pay for a scaffolder at the plant is just £12.36 an hour, when the rate for their job under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI) is £17.45 an hour.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members perform a dangerous and difficult role working at height within a chemical plant, which is reflected in the NAECI rate.

“The support for strike action was overwhelming and more workers have joined the union since the ballot began. Unite will be relentless in our campaign to end this shocking pay disparity of more than £5 an hour.”  

Around 25 scaffolders, insulators and painters, who all work at height, voted unanimously for strike action over low pay. Around 10 new members have joined Unite since the dispute began.  

The Mitsubishi Chemicals Billingham plant produces battery electrolytes and methacrylates, which are base chemicals for the manufacture of acrylic plastics. 

Between 4 November and 4 December, the workers will hold strikes over 19 days.

Unite regional officer Neil Howells said: “These strikes will cause serious disruptions to the Billingham site’s repair and maintenance schedule. This action can be avoided if Altrad and Mitsubishi pay NAECI rates.”


Billingham scaffolders at Mitsubishi Chemicals balloted for strike over ‘outrageous pay discrepancy’

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.