New protests are planned by the GMB union over its claims that local people are missing out on work opportunities at Sita Sembcorp’s (SSUK) new energy-from-waste (EfW) plant at Redcar on Teesside.
The protests have been confirmed, despite SSUK rejecting an GMB allegation that local workers have been made redundant and replaced with foreign nationals during construction of the EfW plant.
A spokesman for SSUK’s parent company Suez said: “There is no truth to claims that workers employed on the construction of the Wilton 11 EfW plant are being exploited, or that foreign nationals are being employed as a means to undercut the unions’ voluntary agreement on rates of pay for British workers.
“As SSUK has stated previously, the construction of the EfW plant, which is being managed by a joint venture between contractors CNIM and Clugston, is a complex project with a complex supply chain.
“Many of the companies working on this project are specialists or have significant experience working in this field, and it was necessary for SSUK to look to the wider EU to procure this expertise.”
The firm has previously hit back at union claims that foreign workers are being preferred over locals during the construction process.
New claims by the GMB state that between 15 and 20 Slovakian and Hungarian workers had been employed for £5 less per hour than non-binding agreements in place within the construction industry after local workers were made redundant at the site.
The claim by the GMB follows similar accusations by Unite earlier this month, which alleged that the project is being built outside the terms of national employment agreements for the construction industry.
The project is being constructed on behalf of the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA). SSUK was selected as preferred bidder for a resource recovery contract worth £1.18bn over 30 years with the MRWA.
SSUK said the MRWA was arranging a national-level meeting between all parties in September.
- UPDATED 20 August to clarify that no workers at the plant are involved in the protests