The NAECI came into being, as a working rule agreement covering the whole of the engineering construction sector, in 1981. Since then a significant number of new build projects have been delivered successfully using the NAECI. The NAECI is not just about new-build though as Clients on a number of large industrial facilities support the use of NAECI for their long-term repair and maintenance work as well as for outages, turnarounds and events.
NAECI is a comprehensive and prescriptive agreement. Its strength lies in the fact that it creates a level-playing field on wages, which reduces exploitable differences, as well as reducing labour churn and poaching. Nationally agreed pay rates means that contractors are bidding for work not on the basis of pushing down labour rates but instead on the quality of the skills within their organization, namely their engineering, their design, their procurement, their management and supervision and of course their craft skills.
That said, NAECI is about more than just wage rates. As well as being a ready-made off-the-peg employment package, it also provides a framework for the management of industrial relations with both local and national level infrastructure to resolve individual and collective issues.
Members involved in any NAECI work can access employment relations and employment law advice through the Association’s Head Office team. On large sites, ECIA Regional Managers provide members with the benefit of local industrial relations support and assistance. These experienced staff will also work alongside members should any matters go into the formal dispute or dismissal procedures.
NAECI has been around since 1981. Whilst it is a tried and tested Agreement, it is by no means a static document. It has continually evolved to respond to specific matters or changes in the marketplace. Recent examples of NAECI evolving are: the introduction of Conditional Death Benefit, which has eliminated the disruptive practice of sympathy stoppages; and the introduction of NAECI “Basic” which allows a lighter touch application of the Agreement with less infrastructure, which may prove more attractive to clients with smaller new-build projects.