Unite the union has hit out at employers at the Fawley Exxon refinery over the ‘outrageous’ suspension of one of their union reps.

The rep, who is employed by Altrad Services, was suspended after 50 of his colleagues - who are not part of the dispute - refused to cross the picket line during a strike on 8 April. The decision not to cross the picket line had been taken earlier in a vote by the workers. 

Around 100 workers, who make up a third of the contractors at the Southampton oil refinery, have been striking over pay. 

The union has hit out at Altrad Services’ false accusation that Unite’s rep initiated secondary industrial action and potentially put the refinery and staff at risk. 

The workers’ vote not to cross the picket line was carried with the proviso that safety critical staff would be on site, which was what occurred.  

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is an outrageous victimisation of an innocent man. Altrad Services is clearly rattled by the strength of the support across the workforce for this action for fair pay and against corporate greed. 

“Fawley’s owners are making money hand over fist. They can more than easily pay these workers fairly but instead choose to attempt to bully them into submission. But Altrad Services should be in no doubt that this disgraceful action will be met with Unite’s full force. It should be reversed immediately.”

In 2021, Exxon, owners of the Fawley refinery, banked a profit of £6.75 billion, its highest since 2017. 

Fawley refinery workers employed by Altrad Services, Trant Engineering Limited and Veolia Services have taken discontinuous strike action over a 2.5 per cent pay offer and a lack of company sick pay since 8 April. 

Strikes have currently been suspended to allow for renewed negotiations. 


Notes to editors:

Petrol stations facing disruption as workers fight for a fair wage from ‘filthy rich’ Exxon at Southampton oil refinery

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.