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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Barrow shipyard workers in row over pay

FURNESS workers are being treated like second-class citizens, a union has claimed.

Painters working for a subcontractor at Barrow’s shipyard are being paid £3 an hour less than their colleagues from the North East, according to the regional officer for Unite, John Fallows.

And he warned that the union would consider strike action if the dispute wasn’t resolved.

At the centre of the issue are around 70 workers, employed by North East industrial painting firm, Barrier, which is subcontracted to do the work by the Yorkshire-based Redhall Group. Mr Fallows claims that of the 70 workers, those from the Furness area are paid £9 an hour – while North East workers are paid £12 an hour, as well as travel expenses and an accommodation allowance.

The union officer said: “This is blatant exploitation of North West employment and North West workers. These workers do exactly the same job. You cannot pay some workers £9 an hour and others £12 an hour. Barrier think they can get away with paying local workers less because we have high unemployment.”

Submarine painting work was previously undertaken by shipyard employees but was out-sourced around 10 years ago. Mr Fallows has also called on BAE Systems to intervene, although he stressed the issue was between Barrier and its staff.

He said: “I have a meeting with BAE next Wednesday to discuss this. I think BAE could put some pressure on Barrier to ensure all workers are paid and treated the same.”

Mr Fallows also claimed he was aware of more than 30 local industrial painters who were looking for work.

He added: “This is about making sure everyone is treated fairly. But right now, local workers are being treated like second class citizens.

“Barrier say they are not doing anything legally wrong, but this is a moral and ethical issue, not a legal issue.”

The union official warned if the dispute was not resolved his members would be balloted on strike action. And he claimed that 5,000 directly-employed shipyard workers may support their colleagues and may choose not to cross a picket line.

Mr Fallows said: “Even in-house workers say this is wrong. If nothing comes of these discussions, I will have to ballot the workers and they could go on strike.’’

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “I am surprised by the suggestion that this contractor to BAE has to pay people from outside Furness more because it cannot find enough qualified local industrial painters. There are lots of skilled people here looking for work and it is important they are not overlooked.”

The Evening Mail made several attempts to contact Barrier but had received no response from the company before going to print.

Have your say

EQUALITY MEANING EQUAL I suggest that if the travelers arnt happy then dont work away from home and give local men the work. They get their traveling money what more do they want maybe some enjoy being away from home!

Posted by miss smith on 15 June 2012 at 08:19

I travel all over the country to work and get paid the same rate as the guys that lives outside the varying site with no travelling exp.
BAe has been taken advantage of local contractors for years and nothing has been done about it. It is disgraceful and I will not work for them again, vote with your feet and let them pay double for all their contractors, I have friends that have left the area to get paid a decent contracting rate rather than get discriminated against for being barrovian by BAe, they should be ashamed of themselves putting the love barrow sign up.

Posted by David Scud on 9 June 2012 at 18:16

View all 12 comments on this article

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Have your say

EQUALITY MEANING EQUAL I suggest that if the travelers arnt happy then dont work away from home and give local men the work. They get their traveling money what more do they want maybe some enjoy being away from home!

Posted by miss smith on 15 June 2012 at 08:19

I travel all over the country to work and get paid the same rate as the guys that lives outside the varying site with no travelling exp.
BAe has been taken advantage of local contractors for years and nothing has been done about it. It is disgraceful and I will not work for them again, vote with your feet and let them pay double for all their contractors, I have friends that have left the area to get paid a decent contracting rate rather than get discriminated against for being barrovian by BAe, they should be ashamed of themselves putting the love barrow sign up.

Posted by David Scud on 9 June 2012 at 18:16

View all 12 comments on this article

Make your comment

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Your Email

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