The flagship Hinkley Point nuclear power plant development could face significant delays due to a pay dispute at Darchem Engineering in Stockton-on-Tees.
Strike action will hit Darchem Engineering, which manufactures industrial pond liners for Hinkley Point as part of £200 million contract with the next delivery due in June.
The workers are challenging an increasing pay disparity between trades at the company. The welders’ pay has increased by over £2 an hour but the company has refused to give a similar increase to the platers and sheet metal workers.
Industrial action by Unite’s members will begin with an overtime ban starting on Monday, June 6. This will then be followed by three 48-hour strikes beginning on Monday, June 13, Monday, June 20 and Monday, June 27. Further strikes could be called depending on the response of the employer.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said,“Darchem Engineering is making millions from the UK taxpayer so it has no right denying workers on a UK project a fair rate of pay. It needs to get a grip or their actions will cause further problems to the Hinckley site.
“Unite will be giving our members at Darchem Engineering our total support until the unfair pay disparities are fully resolved.”
Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown added, “Unite has repeatedly tried to resolve this dispute through negotiations but Darchem has refused to listen. Our members are taking industrial action as a last resort.
“Strike action will inevitably result in delays to products being delivered to Hinkley Point, but this dispute can still be averted if the company makes an improved offer and returns to negotiations.”
By Barckley Sumner