Friday, September 18, 2009

Mass vote on 3% pay offer to stop strikes

Thousands of engineering construction workers will vote next week on whether to abandon plans for a national strike which could cripple power plants across the country.

Hopes of averting a strike were raised yesterday when shop stewards voted to recommend the employers’ latest offer to the workforce to improve pay and conditions.

The deal is for a guaranteed pay rise of at least 3% over the next two years.

But the shop stewards’ backing was only agreed by a small majority during an all-day meeting in Manchester.

One union source said: "It was a close run thing and there was a lively debate which went on for hours. It’s going to be a tough call over which way the workers on the shop floor vote over this."


Mass vote on 3% pay offer to stop strikes


Members of the Unite and GMB unions are now being balloted on accepting a deal for improved terms under the Naeci "blue book" agreement. Ballot papers are due to be returned by Friday with the results due next week.

The vote follows months of unrest and unofficial stoppages over industry conditions and the continued use of cheap foreign labour.

One site activist said: "Even if a full-scale strike is called off I can see plenty more local disputes erupting over the foreign worker issue."

Unite assistant general secretary, Les Bayliss, said: "Following months of intense negotiations, the union is now in a position to recommend an offer from the employers to thousands of workers in the construction industry.

"If the offer is accepted by the workers there is the opportunity for industrial peace in an industry which has been plagued by unrest, thanks to certain unscrupulous employers.

"With a significant number of new build projects on the horizon, the construction industry is hugely important to the UK economy and will help bring the UK out of recession. If the offer is accepted, it's in everyone's interest to make the agreement work."

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