Socialist Worker

Barrow construction workers refuse to back down from all-out strike

by Charlie Dowthwaite
Issue No. 2166

Workers on all out strike at a gas terminal in Barrow are refusing to back down over their pay dispute.

Workers at the Centrica gas terminal began their strike on Friday of last week in protest at a 3 percent pay rise offered by maintenance firm RBG.

Workers are demanding they be given a 5.5 percent rise which has been recommended for sites covered by the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (the “Blue Book”).

The Barrow gas terminal is not currently part of the agreement. The 21 workers at the plant voted on Thursday to take industrial action. The Unite union says they are supported by 19 members from other sites.

Unite official John Fallows said workers would stay out until bosses agreed to the rise.

He said, “After extensive talks in 2007 with Centrica and RBG, we came to an agreement which aligned RBG’s wages with the Blue Book, which is a national agreement.

“This year the Blue Book pay rise is set at a 5.5 percent increase. RBG have offered us 3 percent. Workers at Barrow’s sister plant in the north east have been given 5.5 percent.

“It looks as though RBG believe that the workers in the north west are second-class.”

Electricians in the Unite union were set to protest on Thursday against Laing O’Rourke’s use of the construction industry blacklist.

Blacklisted workers will protest outside the Rock project in Bury town centre – the country’s largest shopping centre project – after being denied work at the site.

Laing O’Rourke is one of 44 firms found to be illegally blacklisting trade unionists from working on its sites. NG Bailey, the electrical subcontractor on the project, has also been using the list.

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Article information

Tue 25 Aug 2009, 19:23 BST
Issue No. 2166
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