Refinery workers return after wildcat strike

Author: By Alan Jones and Celia Paul, Press Association

Workers voted by a show of hands to go back to work at a mass meeting outside
the Lindsey oil refinery in north Lincolnshire this morning after union
officials recommended they accept an agreement thrashed out during marathon
talks last week.

The workers went on unofficial strike after complaining that 51 employees were
being laid off at Lindsey, owned by energy giant Total, while other
contractors on the site were hiring staff.

Thousands of workers across Britain took sympathy action in support of the
Lindsey workers at up to 15 sites.

Unions said they had achieved their objective of finding other jobs for the 51
workers as well as rescinding dismissal notices sent to 647 employees at the
site who were on strike.

The unions also won a guarantee of no victimisation against workers across the
country who took sympathy action.

Addressing the hundreds of strikers gathered outside the refinery this
morning, GMB shop steward Kenny Ward described Thursday’s deal as an
“unprecedented victory” for trade unions.

He said the agreement was a “smack in the face for the employers, a
realisation that they need to take a step back”.

He continued: “In my opinion, we have achieved an unprecedented victory not
just for us but on a legal front as well so I recommend and we recommend as
the Shop Stewards Committee that you vote ‘yes’ and we return to work.”

Within minutes of the vote, police had temporarily halted traffic as the
workers marched across the road and back on to the site, bearing union
banners and flags.

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