Valero workers denied Xmas holiday pay
Shocking Scrooge-like actions by contractors in Pembrokeshire Valero dispute as workers wrongly denied holiday pay
Construction contractors employing workers at the Valero oil refinery in Pembrokeshire have been castigated for their Scrooge-like attitude as workers have been denied Christmas holiday pay.
The 138 workers, employed by contractors under the terms of the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI), embarked on indefinite strike action in pursuit of an increase in bonus payments to offset rapid inflation three weeks ago.
The workers, who are responsible for construction maintenance roles at the vast refinery, currently receive a bonus of 15 pence an hour. They want this increased to £2.37 an hour, the maximum allowed under the agreement.
In response two of the contractors, Altrad and Jenkins and Davis, are now refusing to pay the workers their holiday pay for the Christmas and New Year shutdown, despite this being a legal requirement. The two companies are also refusing to pay workers for holidays booked before the industrial action began.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “On what level do Altrad and Jenkins and Davis believe that it is acceptable to deprive workers of pay they are legally entitled to at Christmas.
“This is an immensely wealthy contract and to pay our members what they are owed would not create a single dent in the huge profits being made by energy companies,” she added. “Their greed is breath taking.
“If the companies think that they can starve our members back to work they need to think again. Our members in this dispute have Unite’s unflinching support.”
Unite is now examining all avenues open to it, including further industrial and legal action to ensure the workers receive the money owed to them.
Unite regional officer Allan Card added, “The strike action is already causing considerable disruption at the Valero refinery but denying workers their holiday pay is going to make the situation even worse.
“Unite will be looking at all options to reverse this grossly unfair and illegal action. Rather than denying workers holiday pay, the contractor and Valero should be putting their energies into getting an agreement to resolve this dispute.”
By Barckley Sumner