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Dozens of workers to strike at Peterhead’s Dales Engineering as inflation soars

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

More than 50 workers at Dales Engineering Services in Peterhead have voted to strike in a dispute over pay and concerns on the cost of living.

Results of a statutory ballot on Wednesday returned 98.1% in favour of strike action in what the GMB Union described as a “clear mandate” to down tools at the north-east machining and fabrication firm.

Of the 58 members eligible to vote, 89.7% took part, which followed a consultative ballot last month.

Dales Engineering Services had no comment when approached by Energy Voice.

GMB said the strikes could be “as early as next month” and will meet with its members again next week, but hoped Dales Engineering would return to the table for negotiations.

The dispute centres on a pay offer for 2022 which the union said did not meet the soaring inflation rates which jumped to 5.4% in December – it’s highest in 30 years – with a widespread surge in the cost of goods and services, including energy prices.

After taking a pay freeze in 2021, GMB argued this was “another real-terms pay cut”.

GMB regional organiser Stephen Massey said:  “In the grip of a growing cost of living crisis, GMB members have sent a loud and clear message to management: Another real-terms pay cut is not acceptable, and they are prepared to strike to make work better.

“The ball is now firmly in the court of the employer to bring forward a significantly improved pay offer that confronts the cost of living for our members, otherwise we will be looking at action as early as next month.”

The last time that inflation rates were this high was March 1992, and rising rates are often used in employment negotiation tactics.

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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