Mossmorran strike: contract workers picket line in cost of living payment row

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Contract workers are set to begin a week-long strike at Mossmorran in a dispute over a cost of living payment.

Maintenance and repair staff employed by Kaefer will have a picket line at the Shell Fife NGL (Natural Gas Liquids) Plant, Cowdenbeath plant, and St Fergus Energy Plant in Peterhead which is also affected. The strike involves around 150 Unite union members.

Kaefer contractors include scaffold inspectors and supervisors, riggers and rigging supervisors, forklift drivers, general assistants and mechanical supervisors. Unite said that without these essential workers production at the Fife plant and St Fergus gas plant will be severely impacted. Shell has previously said it did not anticipate any production impact.

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The action, which will end on Monday, December 4, also involves a continuous overtime ban for 12 weeks after the members returned a 75 per cent yes vote for strike action.

ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran (Pic: TSPL)ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran (Pic: TSPL)
ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran (Pic: TSPL)

Unite said the dispute centres on the employer not making a cost of living payment for 2023. It said its membership has been left with “no option” but to take action, and blamed operator, Shell, for the stand-off.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Members employed by Kaefer at the Mossmorran and St Fergus plants have their union’s complete support as they start strike action. Kaefer and the operator Shell, who funds any deal, have refused to make our members a cost of living payment.

“To fund such a payment would be a tiny drop in Shell’s multi billion pound profit ocean. Unite will back our Kaefer members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

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The workers are covered by the National Agreement for Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI). Other workers secured a supplementary cost of living payment of an extra £1 for every hour worked between January and the end of June 2023. After that date, the supplementary payment became 75 pence an hour. The payment was made following a NAECI pay increase of just 2.5 per cent for 2023. Mossmorran and St Fergus Kaefer contractors did not receive the supplementary cost of living payment.

Bob MacGregor, Unite industrial officer, added: “ It’s a damning indictment on both Kaefer and Shell that our members have been forced into taking strike action to get a payment. Shell, which owns the plants, is amassing billions in the bank and Kaefer is also profitable. We will not rule out further action unless the company gets back round the negotiating table.”

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