GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Monday 27 May 2024
 10.7°C   ESE Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Business / Port authority union members vote in favour of industrial action

Photo © Mike Pennington (cc-by-sa/2.0)

THE UNITE union has confirmed that its members working at Lerwick Port Authority have voted in support of industrial action over pay, terms and conditions.

As it stands Unite members will now commence a continuous overtime ban from 28 March.

Due to the level of overtime required to ensure the effective running of operations at the port, Unite has stated that any overtime ban in itself will have a “severe impact” on shipping at the port.

The union said that “for a number of years, despite the prosperity and expansion of the port, skilled and semi-skilled employees have been paid considerably less than nationally agreed rates”.

Around a dozen key workers voted unanimously in support of strike action and an overtime ban.

The industrial action will include engineers, electricians, joiners and general operatives.

Unite members are challenging a number of “detrimental changes to basic pay, overtime, standby and call-out payments and pension contributions”.

“The changes will further cut incomes for workers who already derive 40p in every pound of their pay from overtime payments,” the union said.

Unite is demanding that the port workers be brought into line with industry standards set by National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI) and the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This unanimous support for industrial action should make it clear that our members at the port can no longer be taken for granted. Lerwick Port Authority needs to pay the industry rate for the job.

“We know the business can well afford to pay our members what they deserve. So, management needs to return to the table with an improved offer immediately.

“If they don’t they will face industrial action, which will have a severe impact on the port’s operations and our members at Lerwick Port will have the full backing of the union in their fight to secure better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Unite industrial officer John Clark added: “The resounding support for industrial action is a reflection of the anger our members feel.

“An overtime ban in itself will massively disrupt the operations at Lerwick Port because of the extra hours required to ensure the smooth running of operations. If there is no progress in the coming weeks, we also reserve the right to take all out strike action which will bring the port to an absolute standstill.

“We urge the Port Authority to bring this group of workers within current national agreements which are set by industry-wide bodies, or the disruption to the company and the local economy will be extensive.”

Port chief executive Captain Calum Grains said last month: “All agree, the department staff’s terms and conditions need to be streamlined.

“We have made what we believe is a fair and constructive proposal, including bringing their terms and conditions in line with salaried employees, as requested.

“We continue to make every effort to address the issues raised and avoid dispute through the ongoing process of meaningful negotiations.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.