Scaffold workers employed by Altrad at the Mitsubishi Chemicals plant in Billingham, Teesside, are being balloted for strike action over an ‘outrageous pay discrepancy’, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Thursday 30 September).

Around 25 scaffolders, insulators and painters, who all work at height, will be balloted over low pay. 

The basic pay for a scaffolder at the plant is just £12.06 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: “Working at height at a chemical plant is a difficult and dangerous job, which is reflected in the NAECI rate. It is not acceptable that our members are being subjected to an outrageous pay discrepancy of more than £5 an hour. Altrad and Mitsubishi must pay the proper rate for the job.”

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

The ballot for strike action and industrial action short of a strike opened this week and closes on 11 October.

Unite regional officer Neil Howells said: “If strikes go ahead there will be major disruption to the site’s maintenance and repair schedule. Altrad and Mitsubishi can avoid this by paying NAECI rates. The current pay scale is well below industry standard and is an insult to a committed workforce.”


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

Email: [email protected]

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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.