430 Workers Locked Out at BP Saltend, Hull

17 Mar 2011

GMB call on BP, Du Pont and British Sugar to join with the unions in order to get engineering construction members back to work on the £200million biofuel ethanol plant at Saltend, Hull.

GMB wants BP,Du Pont and British Sugar to intervene to allay increasing fears that the £200m engineering construction project to build a bio fuel ethanol plant for them at the Saltend Site in Hull will be the scene of another Lindsey type dispute with the project manager Jacobs replacing the UK based labour force building the site with exploited overseas labour.  In 2009 Lindsey Oil Refinery was involved in a dispute over the exclusion of UK workers from the site to be replaced with lower paid overseas workers.

BP, Du Pont and British Sugar make up a consortium Vivergo Fuels Ltd which is client for this project. Vivergo Fuels Ltd awarded the contract to manage the project to Aker Process part of the US Jacob Group. The role of the project managers is to source tenders for the contract to build the plant.

The engineering construction workforce is employed by a range of contractors under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry. Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd was awarded the contract for mechanical piping within the scope of work in February 2010 with 316 manual workers and 134 staff workers. Other contractors are DSL (Deborah Services Ltd) Scaffolding with 63 manual workers, SEC Electrical 40 manual workers, Syntex Engineering Services with 17 manual workers, FB Taylor with 10 manual workers and Mammoet Cranes with 15 manual workers .

On 11th March notice was served upon Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd by Vivergo Fuels Ltd for performance related issues, thereby terminating any agreement between themselves and Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd. Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd issued a communiqué to the workers stating that as from 07.31 on Monday 14 March 2011 they will no longer be employed by them and should turn up for work to be transferred under TUPE legislation to either Vivergo Fuels Ltd or any contractor that is given the contract. When the members turned up for work yesterday Aker Process Ltd on behalf of Vivergo Fuels Ltd denied any liability to employ the transferred staff.  This leaves GMB members in an impossible situation in that they have uncertainty of employment and are not receiving wages from 07.31 on 14 March 2011. Workers from the other contractors have been sent home on full pay.

Les Dobbs, GMB Senior Organiser, said “GMB members have increasing fears that the dismissal of the UK based workforce will lead to them being replaced with lower paid exploited overseas workers. Jacobs, who own Aker Process the project manager on this site, were also involved at Lindsey Oil Refinery when the dispute arose over the exclusion of UK workers from the site to be replaced with lower paid overseas workers and are therefore knowledgeable of the concerns and damage that this type of dispute can cause. I am calling on BP, Du Pont and British Sugar to ally these fears and to intervene now to get everyone back to work. GMB members are effectively locked out by the main contractors and demonstrations have already started in Hull, Middlesbrough and Newcastle upon Tyne. Those paying for the building of the site BP, Du Pont and British Sugar have to get a grip of this problem before the situation deteriorates further.”