The long running dispute at Essex concrete maker Tarmac Building Products Ltd has been resolved after a deal safeguarding against the creation of a two tier workforce was agreed. 

The workforce, members of Unite, the UK’s largest union, began a series of strikes in January, in opposition to the company’s attempts to require new starters to receive lower rates of pay. In total the workers were on strike for 11 days, at the Stanford le Hope based company. 

Following the most recent strike action at the end of March, management agreed to fresh talks, which produced a negotiated settlement which was agreed by both sides. 

As part of the deal it was agreed that all new starters will be on the original contracts, ending the plans they would be on a lower rate of pay which would create a two tier workforce. 

It was also agreed that there would be a two per cent pay increase on the basic rate of pay and workers undertaking 24/7 shift working patterns will receive an extra day’s holiday each year. 

To ensure there is enhanced industrial harmony in future, a detailed recognition agreement has been agreed and regular meetings will be scheduled between the management and Unite stewards, to ensure that concerns can be dealt with and resolved earlier. 

Unite regional officer Guy Langston, said: “The incredible unity and strength of our members resulted in Tarmac’s management returning to the negotiating table; was a major factor in ensuring that a deal acceptable to all sides could be agreed. 

“New starters at Tarmac will continue to be on exactly the same contracts as their colleagues, ending fears of a race to the bottom and further cuts to pay rates in the future. 

“The deal should also ensure that there is far better co-operation and understanding on both sides in the future, which should reduce the likelihood of future disputes.” 


Notes to editors: 

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.