'No option but to step up strike action'

Scunthorpe scaffolders step up strike action at British Steel site

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The British Steel plant in Scunthorpe faces further disruption this month as scaffolders based at the site, announced a further six days of strike action in a dispute over pay.

The workers have already taken four days of strike action and will mount a further 48 hour strike beginning at 05:30 on Monday, February 8. Unite has now announced a 48 hour strike to begin at 05:30 on Monday, February 15, a 24 hour-strike beginning at 05:30 on Thursday, February 18, then a further 48 hour strike beginning at 05:30 on Monday, February 22 and finally a 24-hour strike from 05:30 on Thursday, February 25.

The 50 plus scaffolders, involved in the strike action are employed by contractor Brand Energy to undertake maintenance on over 500 scaffolding structures that are on the British Steel site.

The pay dispute began in 2019, when Unite submitted a pay claim that the workers should be paid in line with the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI). There is currently a difference of £2.00 an hour between the NAECI rate and what Brand Energy’s workers currently receive.

Since 2019, Brand Energy has refused to engage with Unite on the pay issue but since strike action began the company has indicated that it is keen to seek a resolution, yet it has not yet proposed any dates for fresh negotiations.

The four days of strike action have generated a great deal of support for the scaffolders but have inevitably caused considerable disruption for suppliers and workers entering the site.

Unite regional officer John McIntyre said, “Unite has received warm words from Brand Energy that they want to resolve the dispute but not received any firm proposals.

“As a result Unite has no option but to step up industrial action, which will certainly cause further disruption to British Steel,” he added.

“We remain committed to entering into negotiations with Brand Energy and its client British Steel, in order to secure an agreement acceptable to all sides.

“The ball is now firmly in Brand Energy’s court.”

By Barckley Sumner

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