Plumbers, pipefitters, and welders have agreed to pay increases totaling 12.7% in a contract that runs from January 2023 to December 2026.
Workers will receive an immediate 3.5% rise 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, according to an agreement reached between the trade union Unite and MEBSCA (Mechanical Engineering and Building Services Contractors' Association).
This is on top of a 2.8% increase that went into effect in January 2023.
The proposed agreement improves on a Labour Court recommendation that was rejected by Unite members, who then voted by nearly 85% to strike.
The agreement calls for a new agreement to be negotiated in early 2026.
The construction committee of Unite has recommended accepting 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," Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said in a statement.
"Once again, strong workplace organisation and the threat of industrial action has delivered improved jobs, pay and conditions for our members," she said.
MEBSCA welcomed the agreement reached with Unite to resolve the pay dispute in the mechanical engineering sector, according to a spokesperson.
"The increases have been negotiated for the period up to end of May 2026," MEBSCA said in a statement.
"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," a spokesperson said.