Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Angry Yard Boss to Shut out Union

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Angry Yard Boss to Shut out Union

Article excerpt

Byline: Exclusive By Rajeshree Sisodia

Swan Hunter boss Jaap Kroese has launched an attack on a major union in the pay wrangle hitting the Tyne's shipbuilders.

The outspoken yard owner says he will ditch union Amicus - as well as Tyne shipyards Amec and McNulty Offshore - from a labour agreement he plans to set up.

This week, The Journal revealed that Mr Kroese planned to abandon a three-yard deal on the Tyne set up to bring industrial harmony to the river.

The Dutch businessman said he would create his own labour agreement, covering only in-house and subcontracted workers at Swan Hunter and guaranteeing them equal pay and rights.

Mr Kroese's announcement means he will walk away from the maritime collective labour agreement - which Swan Hunter signed with Amec and McNulty Offshore and unions GMB and Amicus - and exclude all but GMB.

The three-year collective agreement, signed last year, was seen as a way to ensure in-house tradesmen at all three yards had equal pay and rights, that yards would not poach staff by offering higher wages and to reduce the likelihood of pay disputes.

But there has been industrial unrest along the river in recent days, which culminated in 2,800 in-house workers at Amec and Swan Hunter walking out on Monday in support of 98 sub-contractors sacked for striking over a pay dispute.

Monday's wildcat strike brought Swan Hunter and Amec to a halt.

The former sub-contractors were sacked by Jarrow's C & D Industrial services after the company said the industrial action was a breach of contract. The sub-contractors yesterday returned to work at the two Tyneside shipyards on condition pay talks at C & D Industrial start on Tuesday.

Mr Kroese said: "We are going to have our own agreement, but with GMB because Amicus is completely unreliable.

"Ninety-five per cent of the workforce with C & D Industrial were Amicus members. Amicus should have stopped the members from striking - this was not a last-minute thing. I have absolutely no time for Amicus.

"GMB stood by us. They condemned the strike action of the sub-contractors. …

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