Opinion Former Article

Unite's power station protests

Date: Wednesday, 11th February 2009

Time: 6.30am - 10.00am (see notes to editors)

Address: Staythorpe power station, Staythorpe Road
Newark on Trent
Nottinghamshire
NG23 5PS

and
Grain Power Station
Isle of Grain
Rochester
Kent
ME3 0AF

Hundreds of skilled but unemployed construction workers, being refused work at the Staythorpe and Isle of Grain power stations, will hold co-ordinated demonstrations outside the sites to call on Alstom to give UK-based labour fair access to work.

Alstom, the main contractor at both power stations, is using two subcontractors at each of the sites, both of whom are refusing to consider local labour.

Alstom has been contracted by RWE to build the Staythorpe power station, a gas-fired power station near Newark. Two companies, Montpressa and FMM, have been subcontracted to carry out construction work on the site. These two non-UK contracting companies say they have no intention of employing any local labour to undertake the work. Unite estimates that 600 jobs will be needed to build the power station's turbine and boiler (Montpressa will fit the turbine and FMM will fit the boiler) and another 250 to build the pipe connecting the two. None of these jobs will go to UK workers.

At the Isle of Grain, two sub-contractors, Remak and ZRE, have also refused to consider applications for work from UK-based labour. Unite estimates that the two sub-contractors will require 450 workers over the lifetime of the project. Alstom has been contracted by E.on to build the power station.

Unite is calling on the government to insist that companies applying for contracts on public infrastructure projects, sign up to Corporate Social Responsibility agreements which commit to fair access for UK Labour.

Unite's joint general secretary, Derek Simpson said:

"Unemployed construction workers are asking for fairness not favours. Alstom has the power to insist that the sub-contractors end this scandalous situation. UK-based labour must be given a fair chance to get a cut of the action to build a new generation of UK power stations.

"The government is beginning to grasp the seriousness of the present situation but we now need to see the follow through. The government must ensure that construction companies sign up to Corporate Social Responsibility agreements, which commit to fair access for UK Labour.

"No European worker should be barred from applying for a British job and absolutely no British worker should be barred from applying for a British job."

Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite, together with a delegation of Unite members working in engineering and construction will deliver a petition to Number 10 today, calling on Gordon Brown to insist that employers give UK workers fair access to work on UK engineering and construction projects.

Following the delivery of the petition, construction workers will meet with MPs and Peers in the Houses of Parliament to put forward their case for fairness not favours.

The petition signed by thousands of engineering and construction workers, many of whom are currently unemployed, also calls for overseas workers to be paid in line with agreed UK rates. Unite believes that the best way to achieve this is to ensure that UK workers and their unions work side by side with overseas workers.

ENDS

For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315 or contact Karen Viquerat on 07768 931 316 to organise interviews outside the Staythorpe and Isle Of Grain power stations.

Notes to editors: Its recommended that the media try to get to the power stations before 9.30am when attendance will be highest.

More Articles by Unite - the union (T&G section) ...

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