Southampton Exxon refinery pay strikes to escalate

Unite warns of petrol disruption as Fawley refinery workers continue strike over pay and lack of sick pay

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Pay strikes at Exxon’s Fawley refinery near Southampton will escalate in June risking petrol supply disruption at a sixth of the UK’s petrol stations.

Around 100 workers, who make up a third of the contractors at the Fawley Refinery, took three days of strike action in April and May over a 2.5 per cent pay offer and a lack of sick pay.

Fresh strikes are now scheduled for June 9, 10, 16, 17 and 20.

Fawley is the UK’s largest refinery, supplying a sixth of petrol stations nationwide and all airports.

As some workers, who are employed by Trant Engineering Limited, Veolia Services and Altrad Services, provide safety critical services, strike action could lead to shutdowns across the plant.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Exxon made a staggering £6.25 billion in 2021, so there is no reason whatsoever to deny Fawley workers a fair deal on pay and company sick pay.

“There is still time to avoid further strikes but Exxon and the employers must come back with an offer that our members can accept.”

While colleagues who are directly employed by Exxon receive it from day one of their employment, those working for Trant, Veolia and Altrad only receive statutory sick pay of £96.35 a week.

Unite’s Veolia members carry out safety critical work such as the removal of sewage and hydrocarbons and emergency works.

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

Unite regional officer Malcolm Bonnett added, “Not only are these workers being treated as second class employees, by refusing them company sick pay, Exxon and the employers are encouraging people who are ill to work.

“At a site where flammables are handled and processed, it is simply not safe to have people forcing themselves to work while sick because they are worried about their incomes falling off a cliff. This is the case at Fawley and it needs to end.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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