Scaffolders strike over bonus dispute

Scaffolders and other trades working on a GSK Pharmaceutical Plant in Scotland have downed tools over their employer's refusal to pay bonus payments.
Industrial action at GSK plant. Credit: Unite Scotland | Twitter

Scaffolders and other trades working on a GSK Pharmaceutical Plant in Scotland have downed tools over their employer’s refusal to pay bonus payments.

Around 40 workers employed by Kaefer Limited began strike action yesterday (Monday 9 January) at the GSK plant in Irvine. They seek a bonus payment of £2.37 an hour, the maximum allowed under the relevant industrial agreement (National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry [NAECI]).

Workers include Scaffolders, Electricians, Cable pullers and Labourers. The strike will continue each day up to 23 January. An overtime ban will also be in force, which will last until 2 April. The industrial action will directly impact on the maintenance of the plant, Unite the Union said.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “GSK, which operates the Irvine plant, is making eye-watering profits. Paying our members the bonus they are seeking is like a drop in the ocean to their overflowing coffers. Yet the contractor Kaefer who we are directly in dispute with onsite refuses to award our members what they are entitled to. The workers will have Unite’s 100% backing in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.” 

GSK recorded sales of £7.8 billion in the third quarter of 2022, and a total operating profit of £1.2 billion.

Unite industrial officer Paul Bennett added: “The strike action will cause considerable disruption and it will lead to significant delays in maintenance issues affecting GSK’s Irvine plant. The dispute has been contrived entirely by the contractor Kaefer and GSK as the client steadfastly refusing to pay a bonus.

“Our members don’t want to be in this position but they have been forced to take this action in order to get what they are entitled to under a UK wide bargaining agreement. The action will continue until our members get what they deserve.”

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