Protests increase the likelihood of industrial action by port workers, exam staff and Royal Mail employees.
Unofficial walkouts are being held by workers across the UK in protest of rising inflation and wage disputes. This could lead to major economic disruption.
Yesterday, thousands of workers in factories across the country joined unofficial picket lines. More action is expected in the coming days.
Hundreds of contractors from chemicals giant INEOS’s Grangemouth compound in Scotland marched out in protest against a pay offer.
Similar-sized walkouts were held at Humber Refinery, North Lincolnshire, owned by US energy group Phillips 66 and the Valero refinery, Milford Haven.
Local media reports claim that wildcat strikes will continue at Teesside sites in the coming days.
This follows similar actions by non-unionized Amazon warehouse workers who walked out last Wednesday in a dispute about pay and train drivers at Avanti East Coast who this week refused shifts and brought some services to an abrupt halt.
The latest escalation in the strike chaos in Britain is the wildcat walkouts.
These are done without union approval. New industrial action is announced every day, including walkouts by port workers, exam staff, and Royal Mail workers.
Official and unofficial strikes are threatening to cripple sections of the economy and worsen the economic malaise caused in part by rising inflation.
Businesses cannot plan for wildcat strikes, making it difficult to manage them. These strikes are dangerous for employees who abandon the legal protections granted to them in collective bargaining.
Sadiq Khan, London mayor, and Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester mayor, both got into disputes Wednesday. Avanti West Coast was accused of making an “utterly unacceptable” decision to reduce timetables in the midst of a dispute over walkouts.
Avanti suspended ticket sales on Monday and reduced timetables, blaming “unofficial strikes” by drivers who refused to work on rest days. Last month Transport secretary Grant Shapps said that unions were disrupting drivers’ work schedules by preventing them from rest days.
Aslef, the union representing rail workers, has fiercely disputed claims that its members have launched a wildcat strike. It accused Mr Shapps, claiming that he lied and that overtime is not an obligation for its workers.
A spokesperson for Aslef stated that “the idea that we are part of any unofficial act is palpably absurd.”
Mr Khan and Mr Burnham stated that Avanti’s attempts to blame Aslef are “disingenuous”. They wrote that drivers are fully entitled to not work on rest days.
Wednesday’s strike picketers claimed that the walkouts were part of a dispute with the Engineering Construction Industry Association. This trade and employer association represents Britain’s engineering construction industry.
The sector’s contractors are bound to a “bluebook”, an agreement between business groups and unions that defines their terms of employment.
They will receive 2.5pc salary increases this year and next, according to the agreement. According to workers, this would result in a pay cut of almost 10pc in real terms due to retail price inflation which hit 11.7pc during the year ended June.
Grangemouth was given a pamphlet that stated: “Today’s action is in response to the ECIA’s refusal of recognition of the impact of the Cost of Living Crisis.”
#Breaking Workers at the #Grangemouth oil refinery in #Scotland are taking unofficial strike action. Around 250 workers are said to have downed tools & temporarily blocked access to the site in a row over pay. Operator #Ineos said manufacturing & fuel disruption were unaffected https://t.co/0Nh4WHXacT
— Share_Talk ™ (@Share_Talk) August 10, 2022
INEOS Grangemouth released a statement saying: “We can confirm the presence of contractors working for third parties at the INEOS Grangemouth location as part of a national protest event.” “Our manufacturing and fuel distribution activities are unaffected.”
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