UPDATE: 14 Scaffolders sacked over pay rates


ATTEMPTS are being made today to bring an end to an unofficial strike which has seen dozens of workers protest outside an industrial site see our first report on this here.

It is thought the Unite union was due to meet with representatives of a group demonstrating outside Lucite in Billingham.

Crowds of around 100 workmen have been reported at the company’s entrance in recent days in an action which has delayed planned maintenance work.

The protest comes after 14 scaffolders and labourers were escorted from the chemical company’s site – triggering a disagreement which saw other workers join the dispute.

A source at Hertel, which employs the workers at the Lucite site, said the “unofficial strike action” had been going on for several days and involved the “unlawful secondary picketing” of the premises.

He claimed many of the demonstrators had no direct connection with the work in question, adding the firm had written to its employees to “counter false allegations that the dispute is in any way linked to pay or that the men were forcibly removed from the site.”

The source said Hertel had ended a temporary scaffolding contract last week due to a reduction in the planned scope of scaffolding work required at the Cassel Works site. The decision meant that around 14 scaffolders out of a total of workforce of around 160 contractors employed by the company were given a week’s pay in lieu of notice.

The company says that is in line with the agreed terms of the temporary contracts.

But the workers claim their action comes after they were laid off following a pay review request.

A Hertel spokesman said the situation all of the 14 were employed as temporary scaffolders and labourers.

“The process was managed in accordance with standard procedures with appropriate notice issued to each of the affected employees,” he added.
It is believed that the spokesmen for the parties involved in the dispute were due to meet today.