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Sun March 07 2021

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Union claims redundancy rights victory

11 Feb Unite, the UK’s construction union, is claiming victory in a dispute over redundancy processes.

A ruling regarding construction workers employed at the Stanlow Oil Refinery in Cheshire confirms the union’s right to be notified of redundancies, Unite said.

Bilfinger UK, which employs workers at the facility, decided in April 2020 to make more than 100 workers redundant. However, it failed to notify the union, denied Unite representatives access to collective redundancy meetings, and failed to comply with the specified redundancy selection process and consult with the relevant unions.

 The affected workers were employed under the terms of the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI), the relevant industrial agreement. The NAECI agreement includes a dispute resolution mechanism and Unite pursued the case via this avenue.

Unite’s senior steward at Bilfinger, Stephen Muirhead, played a key role in pursuing the case after he was barred from attending the collective redundancy meetings on behalf of the workforce.

 Last week the NAECI dispute panel ruled in Unite’s favour, saying that Bilfinger should have notified the union of the redundancies, allowed the union to participate in redundancy talks and consulted with the union over the redundancy selection process.

Unite said that it would will be using the judgment to ensure that other NAECI companies comply with the national agreement when considering redundancies.

Unite regional officer Lee Brennan said: “The findings of the dispute panel are warmly welcomed. Bilfinger UK showed complete contempt and disregard to their workers at a time when the nation was in crisis.”

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