Urgent Update 12.08.2020
Backshift & NI negotiations
As most of you are aware, we are now at an impasse with Bylor over the implementation of the Backshift on NI1 as well as any attempt to renegotiate the current arrangement for the Backshift as it stands.
When Bylor first told us about their intention to utilise the Backshift for CI and BOP in May, we were the only Union to formally object. We did this on the grounds that members had no choice as to the pattern which they were working, nor did we think it fair that the shift had been cut by 30 minutes to reduce the uplift %. After surveying the members who were forced on to the shift and discussing the issue with them, we were given permission by them to agree to the shift on a temporary basis due to the need to separate workers on social distancing grounds. We were instructed by the members that once all workers were back from Furlough, that we were to renegotiate the package.
Roll forward to July, all workers are now back at work and a survey was carried out of all members, both Unite and GMB to gauge the feeling from yourselves. The survey came back in and the results showed that some people wished to go back on to dayshift but that the majority were happy to continue if Bylor extended the shift to 2am and arranged for an early start and finish on a Friday. We went back to Bylor with these results as well as proposal shift patterns which included a 2am finish and early start / finish on a Friday. During this time we were also told that NI 1 wanted to use the Backshift. This was objected to again by Unite on the basis that the 3 hour overlap with Day shift was unsafe as well as members not having a choice to remain on their current shift pattern. This has now developed further with Plant & Logistics, just this week, asking their workforce to come forward and move on to the Back shift.
From notification of Bylor’s intent at the Local Joint Council on the 28th July until Friday 7th August your reps on the project have tried to engage in negotiation with Bylor on these two issues with no success. On Friday 7th August a Failure to Agree was lodged with Bylor and EDF which has allowed the Regional Officer to engage with both the company and client. He will be attending a meeting tomorrow (13th August) to discuss these issues. Reps on Back shift and Night shift have been engaging with members on those shifts and we would like to thank all of our members on those shifts for their backing, which they have given via the pledge forms, to say that they will support any action necessary in order to resolve the current situation. Reps will be coming around on dayshift tomorrow and Friday to allow our dayshift members the same opportunity to demonstrate their support.
It is our intention to start an onsite ballot process from Monday 17th August. The purpose of the ballot will be determined by the outcome of tomorrows meeting which your Regional Officer is attending. We have been told today that, although standing side by side with us to this point, the GMB union will NOT be taking part in a ballot process of their members on site. Instead they have attempted to speak with Bylor today to arrange a rotational shift for Backshift. We do not support this suggestion made by the GMB due to the clear outcome given to us from the survey of Backshift workers carried out only 2 weeks ago.
We cannot speak for the GMB membership, nor can their Reps speak for you. We as your Reps certainly do not condone the “share the pain” mentality coming from the GMB. This blatant breach of procedure and respect for HPC’s LARGEST union has now only made our fight harder, however it has NOT made it impossible. This will require each and every member to stand together as one to make sure that the voices of the people who count, YOU, are heard and that managements profiteering choices are swept aside.