28th September 2011
Don’t believe their lies
Myth 1 – no current employee will be affected
The employers are telling their workforce that their current workers will not be affected. This is a lie. Every worker in M&E will be affected. If they get away with introducing the semi-skilled grades and reducing labour costs by a third, no-one will be safe. In fact electricians working under NAECI will eventually be affected as Balfour Beatty, Crown House and co. will be able to undercut any firm using a skilled workforce. Their new agreement allows them to downgrade and totally dominate the proposed employer owned card and grading process.
Myth 2 – they need to modernise or jobs will be lost
The only jobs that will be lost will be skilled jobs as the employers will switch to lower paid semi-skilled operatives. The jobs will still be there, they will just be much lower paid.
Myth 3 – The need to reduce costs to survive
Last year the seven made huge profits: Gratte Brothers £323,000; SES £2,515,000 NG Bailey £19,920,000; T Clarke £ 5,738,000; Crown House £9,485,000 and Balfour Beatty made a staggering £50.5 million. These companies are highly profitable. This attack on your pay is total opportunism by these companies.
Myth 4 – Everyone needs to tighten their belts
While your pay and terms and conditions are being slashed the eight’s bosses are not sharing your pain:
• Directors at Gratte got 23% increase to £895.328 with the highest paid director receiving £288,639 in 2010 an increase of 24.5% - this didn’t include their pensions;
• NG Bailey’s Directors got £1,825,000 for 2010 , including a payment of £574,000 as compensation for loss of office for the highest paid director. During the year to 2010 the workforce reduced from 3,898 to 3,625 mainly Operatives.
• SPIE Matthew Hall Ltd’s - UK Based directors received total payments of £1,136,000 for 2009 an increase of 32%. The highest paid director received (excluding pension contributions) £335,217 for 2009 an increase of 54.6%.
Myth 5 – Unite won’t negotiate
Unite will negotiate; what your union won’t do is agree to their proposals which will de-skill the industry and result in massive pay cuts.
‘NO’ to intimidation
The ‘seven’ have upped the ante. Five of the seven have threatened to sack their M&E workers unless they sign up to massive pay cuts and the de-skilling of their industry on December 7th. Unite says ‘don’t sign’. Unite will be giving further legal guidance nearer the time. Some of these firms are not allowing union officers on site to talk to members. This is unacceptable. But this bullying and intimidation is back-firing badly. Protests around the country are spreading. We have seen huge protests in London, Salford, Grangemouth, Newcastle, Lindsey Oil Refinery and many more. Large numbers of workers are attending mass meetings and getting organised. This is just the beginning.
We need to get ready to ballot
Unite wants every site to be 100 per cent organised. Talk to your workmates. Make sure they are in the union. Unite needs your up to date address, we need to know which contract your are working under. If you know your membership number you can update your own details: www.unitetheunion.org/myunite and get in contact with your shop steward to prepare to notify the union which project / site you are working on.
If you don’t have a shop steward, put yourself forward to be one - download the workplace rep appointment form by clicking here.
Contact your full time regional officer for guidance on preparing for ballots.
If we’re organised we can win
You can download an A4 campaign bulletin in PDF which includes the above and officer contact details by clicking here.