Workers at the ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) Fawley Refinery, the largest integrated petrochemical refinery in the UK, are voting on strikes over a pay dispute.
Mechanical contractors employed by the US-based fossil fuel giant are refusing to pay an incentive bonus arrangement (IBA) to workers and GMB union are balloting their members for strike action.
Those affected carry out a range of tasks at the Southampton refinery which is needed to ensure refinery processes and site safety.
The result of the ballot will be known this week with any strike action to take place over the coming weeks.
ExxonMobil has been contacted for comment.
GMB regional organiser, Bryan Hulley, said: “Our members maintain important and integral process units that keep the refinery running.
“The IBA supplement is only what their efforts have earnt and is due, so the employers’ refusal to implement this standard payment is particularly ill-advised in these uncertain times.
“Of course, during any action strikers will be exercising their right to engage with anyone presenting themselves at the refinery gates to discuss the details of the dispute and to ask work colleagues not to cross the picket lines in solidarity.
“The unfortunate fallout of these discussions on the picket lines is that residents would see significant traffic congestion and disruption around both the refinery, Fawley village and the surrounding area as supportive colleagues choose to remove themselves from the workplace and not cross picket lines in support of strikers at the gates.
“The next steps are that we will now issue the company with the required legal notice for strike action and actions short of strike action.
“We would suggest it is a period of time in which ExxonMobil might choose to speak to their contractors and bring GMB back to the table with a renewed offer which our members agree resolves the matter amicably, thus avoiding any walk out before it happens.
“The olive branch is there, it is now up to the employers if they wish to take it.”
An ExxonMobil spokesperson said: “This matter relates to staff employed by contracting companies onsite.
“We would encourage all parties to continue to engage in dialogue and to work together to reach a resolution.”