Last Friday I met representatives from MGT Teesside and the council with Grangetown councillor Lynn Pallister to discuss the TeesREP power plant project. I was keen to get an update on progress at the site and in particular on the use of local labour in construction, something I made a personal priority at the last election.
The MGT project at Teesport is a huge investment in our area bringing lots of job opportunities, both in construction and the long term operation of the plant. The fact MGT looked around the whole country for a site and chose here is a vote of confidence in our area and the skills of our people.
Compared to the difficulties we had at Wilton with foreign labour being brought in to undercut local workers, MGT’s approach is refreshing. Throughout the application and planning of this project, MGT have continually pledged their commitment to using local labour, supporting local businesses and ensuring Teesside workers can access opportunities on site. They are paying nationally agreed NAECI rates for in scope works on the site which means they are not undercutting terms and conditions and have a good agreement with the trade unions. The recruitment hub they have helped set up at Grangetown is also making sure opportunities can be matched to local skills.
We met MGT last week after some concerns had been raised with both me and Councillor Lynn Pallister by constituents about the use of overseas labour. We wanted to find out the facts.
These are the number of employees on site so far:
Teesside – 317 (46.34%)
North East – 184 (26.9%)
UK – 150 (21.93%)
Non-UK – 33 (4.82%)
At this stage of the project, these numbers clearly show MGT’s commitment to ensuring Teessiders benefit from the development. The figures show that the number of overseas workers is very low - just under 5% - and are only used when it is unavoidable. An example of this is when it is required to fulfil warranty obligations for the fitting of specific parts.
These figures will be on display at the recruitment hub at Grangetown Neighbourhood Centre on Bolckow Road and will be updated as the project progresses.
Although we have had problems in the past with companies recruiting from oversees and undercutting wages, it is important that the facts are established and that myths do not spread.
There is always room for improvement and at the meeting with MGT we discussed ways they could do more to engage with the local workforce, including at the new hub being established in East Cleveland.
We also discussed how every subcontractor was informed of its commitment to making sure local residents can access opportunities through its contractual obligations under Section 106.
Both myself and Lynn will continue to work with MGT and the local council to ensure that as this project continues to progress, we will get every single job we possibly can for local people.
All contracts during the construction phase can be found online here: https://tecnicasreunidas-sct-teesrep.com/jobs - remember to keep checking back for new contracts.