CONSTRUCTION workers in North Ayrshire have held a protest outside a Dalry manufacturing site as part of efforts to lobby an employers' body for better pay.

Workers stood outside the DSM plant from 5am until 12 noon today (Wednesday, August 10) as part of protest against the Engineering Construction Industry Association (ECIA).

The protest was part of a UK-wide day of action from those working under the ECIA's National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI), which sets the terms and conditions of employment for workers in the industry who are paid by the hour.

Staff working under this agreement, recieved a 2.5 per cent pay rise in January of this year, the same fugure of growth they would see again at the beginning of 2023.

But with inflation currently running at around 11.8 per cent, they say this figure needs revisited.

They say this figure, which is predicted to grow to 13-15 per cent by January, was unforseen by economists, meaning they have been left with a real terms pay cut of 10 per cent.

They added that many employers have acknowledged these events and have negotiated pay rises and one off payments for their struggling workforce, however, the ECIA have refused to do so.

One protestor, who asked not to be named, told the Herald: “The ECIA are refusing to come to the table to move forward our pay dispute, saying we are tied into that until January 1, 2024.

“Obviously, with the cost of living, and everything that is going on now, that’s too long for us to wait.

“We’ve tried to go about it the right way, but they’re not budging, so this is a day of action, across Scotland and England, and every construction site where workers work under the NAECI agreement.”

Construction workers joined in the protests today at other Ayrshire sites including Hunterston and GSK in Irvine.

Around 60 contracted workers joined the protests in Dalry, and remained in place from 5am until 12pm.

The protester added: “If the ECIA don’t start their talks, don’t come to the table to negotiate with us, then it’s going to be continuing every second Wednesday after today.”

The group were armed with flags, banners and leaflets, but remained peaceful in their approach.

An information leaflet produced by the workers stated: "We have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country running, some of us were made redundant.

"We accepted the changes to the agreement and took a pay freeze to help our employers and to keep industry moving during lockdown.

"Now we are asking the ECIA to come back to the negotiating table because of these once in a lifetime events.

"So far, they have point blank refused. We cannot allow this cavalier approach to continue."

The protesters also made clear they had "nothing against" DSM, who they are contracted to work for, and that the dispute is purely with the ECIA.

The ECIA has been approached for comment.