WORKERS gathered outside Mossmorran last week in an unofficial walk-out which blocked the entrance to the plant.

It came as employees of several contractors picketed across the country in a series of protests over pay disputes.

The action took place in response to a disagreement with the Engineering Construction Industry Association (ECIA), who staff claim are refusing to recognise the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

A leaflet handed out nationwide – as demonstrations also took place in places like Grangemouth, Scotland’s largest refinery – explained that a 2.5 per cent pay rise scheduled for next January would give workers a “real-terms pay cut of at least 10 per cent” amid skyrocketing inflation.

“Many employers have acknowledged these events and have negotiated pay rises and one-off payments for the struggling workforce,” it read.

“Unfortunately, workers covered by the NAECI and those whose pay mirrors the NAECI are expected to just get on with it.”

It added that workers accepted changes to the agreement during the pandemic and even took a “pay freeze to help the employers”, before calling for new negotiations.

“Now we are asking for the ECIA to come back to the negotiating table because of these once-in-a-lifetime events, which have caused spiralling inflation,” it said.

“So far, they have point blank refused. We cannot allow this cavalier attitude to continue.”

The site is shared by ExxonMobil, who operate the Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) and Shell UK, who run the Fife NGL Plant.

Shell confirmed that some workers employed by Kaefer, their main contractor, took part in the demonstration.

A spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that some Kaefer employees currently contracted to work at the Fife NGL plant have taken unofficial industrial action.

“We support constructive dialogue between Unite the Union and Kaefer to reach a mutually-acceptable resolution. The safety of our plant, teams and community is paramount and will not be affected by this industrial action.”

ExxonMobil’s operations were also unaffected, as they further urged both parties to enter discussions.

A spokesperson said: “We understand this nationwide unofficial protest is being undertaken at locations across the UK by employees of contracting companies.

“While operations at Fife Ethylene Plant are unaffected, we would encourage all parties to engage in dialogue.’”