Gas production 'threatened' as Mossmorran staff strike vote opens

Unite the union said staff in Fife have their 'unflinching' support in the ongoing dispute over bonus payments.

Engineering workers at Mossmorran oil and gas refinery balloted for strike action LDRS

Workers at ExxonMobil’s ethylene plant in Mossmorran are set to vote on industrial action amid an ongoing dispute over bonus payments.

The Mossmorran refinery faces disruption as a result of the ballot which involves around 200 members of Unite trade union.

The ballot, which opened on Monday, will run until November 28 and is a result of a dispute over bonus payments under the NAECI (National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry).

Unite said the industrial action which could follow would threaten production at the site.

The Mossmorran Natural Gas Liquids plant in Cowdenbeath is part of the northern North Sea Brent oil and gas field system.

Members are employed on construction engineering maintenance contracts with the workforce split between Altrad, Bilfinger, and Kaefer.

The contractors are seeking to secure the maximum bonus of £2.37 an hour under the terms of the NAECI agreement to offset rampant inflation rate which now stands at 12.6% (RPI). The employers, however, have to date refused to pay the bonus.

It comes as US oil giant ExxonMobil released its third quarter results in October, which showed record earnings of nearly £17.3bn ($20bn).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Energy companies like ExxonMobil are making record profits of hundreds of billions, yet there is apparently no money available for hard pressed workers, who are essential to the Mossmorran plant operations.

“Unite’s members are determined to fight for what they deserve especially when they and we see major corporations fanning the flames of rampant profiteering. Our workers will be receiving Unite’s unflinching support.”

The union has confirmed that industrial action would lead to disruption and delays to operations at Mossmorran.

Bob MacGregor, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite’s members working for Altrad, Bilfinger, and Kaefer at the Mossmorran plant are angry at being denied what they are owed and deserve under the terms of the NAECI agreement. Any strike action will be entirely of the employers’ own making due to their penny-pinching. They have had every chance to resolve this dispute through negotiation but have chosen not to do so.”

Last month, Unite members contracted by Kaefer based at Shell’s Mossmorran plant resolved a separate dispute over pay.

A spokesperson for ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd said: “This matter involves staff employed by contracting companies onsite, and relates to ongoing discussions over an incentive payment as part of nationally-agreed terms and conditions.

“We encourage union representatives to continue to work with employers to reach a resolution.

“We have a flexible workforce at Fife and have resource plans to cover a range of scenarios.

“We do not anticipate any impact on operations should action occur.”

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