FT Grangemouth

The Unite union is warning there could be disruption at major oil refineries across the UK due to strike action.

Around 1,100 engineering construction workers at the Stanlow Essar and Fawley Esso oil refineries and the Grangemouth complex in Scotland are being balloted for strike action over pay, according to Unite.

The workers are employed by contractors under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI) and carry out essential repair and maintenance at the sites.

According to Unite the value of the workers’ pay has been progressively falling since the pandemic, in contrast to the financial situation of the oil industry where profits have increased.

Unite began preparing for formal industrial action proceedings when it became clear the two-year deal put forward for 2024 and 2025 averaging six per cent per year was rejected by the workers.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This offer is completely unacceptable when the oil industry is awash with profits. It does nothing to reverse the shrinking value of these workers’ wages over successive years.

“It also ties these workers into gambling on the economy and inflation in 2024 and 2025 when their finances have already been battered by increasingly unpredictable market forces. Unite stands rock solid with our NAECI members – the ECIA must come back with an acceptable offer.”

The ballot for strike action will close in mid-October, with strike action scheduled to start later that month.

Unite national officer Jason Poulter said: “The anger amongst our membership is such that we are balloting for strike action. The ECIA must acknowledge that without a better offer, falling recruitment and retention for NAECI roles will only get worse.

“Any disruption caused by potential strikes lies squarely at their door – a much improved offer needs to be put forward if this dispute is not to escalate into industrial action.”