Protests across UK in support of striking Actavo and British Steel scaffold workers calling for fair pay

More than 14,000 people have signed a petition backing the workers over a long-running pay dispute

A number of protests are set to take place across the UK in support of scaffold workers who are going on strike over issues with pay.

Scaffolders employed by Actavo at the British Steel site in Scunthorpe have been engaged in a dispute over the firm’s failure to the industry rate, meaning workers are paid up to 15% less than they should be.

‘Tooth and nail’

Scaffolders will go on continuous strike from Wednesday (26 January) backed by Unite and are calling for tripartite negotiations with Actavo and British Steel.

Currently the workers, who maintain 500 scaffolding structures at the British Steel site, are being paid 10-15% less than they should according to the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI).

While the workers are in dispute with the employer, Unite is also calling for British Steel

calling on Actavo CEO Brian Kelly to respect national agreements and pay his company’s scaffolders the agreed rate for the job.

The dispute dates back to 2019 but is likely to be escalated in the year ahead, following 12 weeks of strike action in 2021.

More than 80% of the workers voted in favour of more action in 2022, while Unite is calling on both Actavo and British Steel to ‘take responsibility for the mess they have created’.

Protests will take place today at the firm’s headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, as well as Chepstow and Brigg in England, and in Livingston, Scotland.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “Supporters across the UK and Ireland are sending a clear message. Pay the Scunthorpe scaffolders the rate for the job.

“British Steel and Actavo need to understand that Unite is standing firm. We will fight tooth and nail to stop the race to the bottom. British Steel and Actavo can’t go on ignoring the issue forever."

Unite regional officer Richard Bedford said: “We call on both British Steel and Actavo to join Unite in tripartite discussions.  It’s time for all parties to get around the negotiating table so the scaffolders can get back to work.”

Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero, and former Labour leader Ed Miliband has written to Actavo in support of the workers.