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Workers threaten strikes at Dales Engineering Services

© Skills Development ScotlandDales Engineering strikes
A Dales Engineering Services Limited apprentice welder at the firm's base in Peterhead

Dozens of workers at north-east machining and fabrication firm Dales Engineering Services have threatened strike action amid a pay dispute.

After a pay freeze in 2021, the GMB union said a new pay offer from the Peterhead-based company is below inflation rates and therefore does not match increases to the cost of living.

A consultative ballot of 56 GMB members across all trades has returned 98% support for strike action and unanimous support for action short of a strike.

Dales Engineering Services declined to comment.

The headline rate of inflation, the measure by which prices rise and fall, has recently climbed to 5.1%, its highest in more than a decade, in part due to soaring energy prices. Issues related to Covid-19, supply chain bottlenecks and the impact of Brexit have also played a hand in the UK.

Rates of inflation are often used in employment negotiation tactics.

GMB Scotland organiser Stephen Massey said: “Still in the grip of Covid-19, workers are now facing a growing cost-of-living crisis and the north-east of Scotland is no different.

“Last year Dales asked their workers to take a pay freeze to support employment, something they accepted in good faith.

“Now that faith must be repaid and that means making work better by awarding an inflation beating pay increase.”

“The ball is in the employer’s court to table an improved offer and we are ready at any time to re-enter negotiations.”

A statutory industrial action ballot is due to be held in early January, “with the threat of strikes later in 2022”, GMB said.

Established in 1987, Dales Engineering Services operates out of Peterhead from its 4.5 acre workshop facility.

In its latest set of accounts, for the 2020 financial year, the firm said it was “optimistic” about the future as the oil and gas and renewables sectors show signs of recovery, although said the market has been “competitive and challenging” due to the volatile oil price and Covid-19.

Dales Engineering Services employed a total of 105 people across production and administration lines during the year.

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