Pay increases worth 12.7% agreed for mechanical workers

Pay increases worth 12.7% have been agreed for plumbers, pipefitters and welders in a deal that runs from January 2023 until 2026.

The agreement between the trade union Unite and MEBSCA (Mechanical Engineering and Building Services Contractors’ Association) will see workers receive an immediate 3.5% increase backdated to September 2023, followed by a 1.9% increase in August 2024, 1.5% in December 2024 and a further 3% in August 2025.

This is in addition to a 2.8% increase which took effect in January 2023.

The proposed deal improves on a Labour Court recommendation which was rejected by Unite members who subsequently voted by nearly 85% to take strike action.

The agreement provides for a new deal to be negotiated in early 2026.

Unite’s construction committee is recommending acceptance of the deal, which is now being put to members in a ballot.

“Unite members rightly rejected the inadequate Labour Court recommendation and the union was preparing to take strike action when employers came to the table to negotiate an improved deal,” said Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham.

“Once again, strong workplace organisation and the threat of industrial action has delivered improved jobs, pay and conditions for our members,” Ms Graham said.

A spokesperson for MEBSCA said it welcomed the agreement reached with Unite to resolve the pay dispute in the mechanical engineering sector.

“The increases have been negotiated for the period up to end of May 2026,” MEBSCA said.

“This agreement resolves a long-running pay dispute with Unite in the sector and will bring stability and certainty to Unite workers and their employers,” the spokesperson added.

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