British Steel scaffolders enter ninth week of strike action

Striking scaffolders at British Steel
Striking scaffolders at British Steel. Credit: Twitter/United Scaffs

Unite leader joins striking scaffolders in Scunthorpe as they enter the ninth week of strike action.

The boss of the leading workers union Unite, Sharon Graham, has shown ‘steadfast support’ for Actavo scaffolders striking at British Steel in Scunthorpe.

She joined the picket lines with workers this morning (Wednesday 1 December) who have a long-running dispute with employers over pay. The leader has also called on British Steel, which has the power to intervene and end the row.

More than 60 Actavo (UK) scaffolders have been on continuous strike action for nine weeks. Unite says their employers are significantly underpaying the workers and breaks the national agreement that sets fair rates for the job.

But Unite says that the client, British Steel, must also take responsibility for this long-running dispute.

Credit: Twitter/United Scaffs

Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham said: “The workers on strike have their union’s steadfast support. My priority is to defend Unite members’ jobs, pay and conditions. 

Actavo and British Steel need to stop playing pass the parcel by blaming each other for underpaying the workers. It’s clear British Steel now needs to come to the negotiating table and resolve this dispute.

“Unite will not allow employers to break national agreements and erode workers’ pay for greater profits. We are prepared to fight tooth and nail to stop the race to the bottom.”

The dispute, which began in 2019, is a result of the scaffolders not being paid in line with the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI). 

The rates for the workforce are currently between 10-15 per cent (depending on specific roles) below these rates. The workers maintain 500 scaffolding structures at the British Steel site.