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Oil refinery workers in fair wage fight

Petrol stations facing disruption as workers fight for a fair wage from ‘filthy rich’ Exxon at Southampton oil refinery
UniteLive, Tuesday, March 29th, 2022


Petrol station and airport fuel supplies are facing disruption as workers at Exxon’s Southampton oil refinery fight for a fair wage from their “filthy rich” employer, Unite said today (March 29).

Around 100 workers, who make up a third of the contractors at the Fawley Refinery, will strike on April 8, April 25 and May 6, with more strikes to be scheduled if the dispute is not resolved.

Fawley supplies a sixth of petrol stations nationwide and all airports.

As some workers provide safety critical services, strike action could lead to shutdowns across the plant.

Unite members employed by three contractors on the site are downing tools over a “pathetic” 2.5 per cent pay offer and a lack of company sick pay. The workers are employed by Trant Engineering Limited, Veolia Services and Altrad Services.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Exxon is filthy rich, making vast sums from high energy prices, including £6.25 billion in 2021 alone, yet is colluding with these employers to reduce the workers’ incomes.

“They have no business whatsoever tabling a pathetic pay offer that is in fact a cut to wages, and absolutely not when RPI inflation is running at 8.2 per cent and expected to climb higher,” Graham added.

“Unite’s top priority is our members’ jobs, pay and conditions and our Fawley membership will have the union’s 100 per cent support in their fight for a pay rise that reflects the cost of living.”

Unite’s Veolia members carry out safety critical work such as the removal of sewage and hydrocarbons and emergency works. They were on the site during the recent Storm Eunice to maintain safety while Fawley was operating with essential workers only.

Other members are involved in providing fuel to airports for aircraft as well as petrol and diesel for garage forecourts.

Veolia, Trant and Altrad workers do not receive company sick pay, despite colleagues who are directly employed by Exxon receiving it from day one of their employment.

Unite regional officer Malcolm Bonnett noted, “Unite’s Fawley members are utterly determined to win sick pay parity with the rest of the refinery’s workforce and a decent pay rise.

“Instead of letting the strikes drag on, causing more and more disruption to the refinery’s operations and clients, it is in Exxon’s and the employers’ interests to put forward an offer our members can accept.”

Ryan Fletcher

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