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Liverpool trip for Wilton protesters

20 Nov 15 Construction trades union activists from Teesside and Merseyside are joining forces today to demonstrate against the exploitation of migrant workers in the northeast.

A protest organised by the Teesside Construction Committee is being held at noon today (Friday 20th November) outside a meeting of the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA) in Liverpool.

Sita SembCorp UK and its joint venture subcontractor CNIM Clugston Wilton Ltd are building a waste to energy plant in Wilton in Teesside for the MRWA. The protest is over the undercutting of NAECI national agreement rates of pay to the posted migrant workers on the project.

Activists have been bussed in from Teesside to Liverpool for the protest.

Suez (formerly Sita UK and still trading as Sita UK Ltd) tried to get an injunction last week to stop the protests, but it failed. It has previously insisted that industrial relations and employment practices on the site are purely a matter for CNIM Clugston. [See our previous report here.]

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Ucatt regional secretary Denis Doody said: “Our concerns about the undercutting of rates and the exploitation of workers on the SITA site have been ignored. Members of the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority must insist on national agreements being honoured and demand that workers are not further victimised by being forced to operate via umbrella companies.”

GMB national officer for construction Phil Whitehurst said: “Sita SembCorp UK and their agents have repeatedly assured the trade unions that parity to or over and above the appropriate rates are being paid, but in reality around only 50% of this figure is closer to the truth after trade union officers visited the site in August 2015 with independent translators and questioned the none-UK posted workers.

“MRWA have consistently sat on the fence negating their responsibility and right as the client to instigate a ‘forensic’ audit… All along they are aware that posted migrant workers are being exploited on their project by their agents Sita SembCorp UK and subcontractors Glugston/CNIM. This is in the face of the Construction Charter [that] Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, has signed with the trade unions to stamp out this kind of unscrupulous practice inside the city limits of Liverpool. Maybe MRWA and Sita SembCorp think they can adopt a different set of values for employment practices on Teesside than inside the Liverpool boundaries. Well they had better think again as exploitation is as vile a practice on Teesside as anywhere else in the UK and will be challenged by the GMB at every juncture.”

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