Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar, Anna Turley, met with SITA, the company building the new Energy from Waste plant on Wilton 11, just before Christmas having been contacted by a number of constituents about the current lack of opportunities in the construction of the site for local workers.
Anna invited the Council officer leading on local employment to the meeting and secured agreement from all partners for a Jobs Fair in February to ensure that local workers get the opportunity to apply for the remaining jobs in the construction and also the permanent maintenance of the site.
The Jobs Fair will be led by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and all 18 sub-contractors at the site will participate, along with the unions Unite and GMB. It will most likely take place in the new Civic Heart in Redcar.
“I was shocked to hear that such a major investment in our area that could provide so many jobs to local construction workers is using a large number of overseas companies. We have a fantastic, highly skilled local workforce on Teesside and we urgently need jobs in this area. SITA should look first to them before going elsewhere. And if salaries and terms and conditions on site do not meet National Standards, this must be challenged.
“While I am fiercely proud of Wilton International and want to encourage investors from across the globe, I want to make sure the benefits and opportunities are felt by local people.
“That’s why I am really pleased to have got all the major players to agree to a jobs fair in February with Sita, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, GMB and Unite Unions and other local employment agencies all involved.
“It is important that lessons are learnt from this and that the next time there is permission granted for a new development of this scale, that the employers, unions and the council make sure that local people get to benefit from opportunities like this on their doorstep.
“There are still ongoing issues on this site for me about ensuring nationally agreed terms and conditions are not undercut, which is why I was really pleased that Labour made announcements recently that if we win the election next year we will make it illegal for companies to undercut local wages by relying on cheap foreign labour.
“The Jobs Fair will not be an end in itself, but we have a real chance here to have a constructive way forward to get people into those jobs on site now and to prevent this being a lost opportunity on our doorstep.”