Deal ends oil refinery strikes

Wildcat strikes by thousands of contract workers were ending today after a deal was agreed to resolve a bitter row over jobs at an oil refinery.

Union leaders and employers reached an agreement late last night to end the dispute which flared at the Lindsey oil refinery in North Lincolnshire.

The deal will be recommended for acceptance at a mass meeting outside the refinery on Monday morning.

Sources said the deal involved the reinstatement of 647 workers at the oil refinery who were sacked for taking unofficial action in protest at the laying off of 51 employees by a sub-contractor.

It is believed the 51 workers will also be offered jobs as part of the agreement.

Unions have also won assurances that thousands of workers at power stations and oil and gas terminals who took sympathy action will not be victimised.

Workers who have been taking unofficial action for the past week held early morning meetings, including at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, and returned to work after being told of the breakthrough.

Les Bayliss, assistant general secretary of Unite, said: "We're pleased that we were able to thrash out a deal which the union can put to the workforce at Lindsey.

"Following hours of detailed negotiations, there has been a significant breakthrough. The proposals for a return to work will be recommended to the workforce by the union's shop stewards at Lindsey on Monday morning.

"The employers have agreed to reinstate all the sacked workers. We welcome the part the employers played in agreeing these proposals."

Mr Bayliss said it was now time for the Government to repeal "anti-trade union" legislation, complaining that UK workers were victims of the most "restrictive" trade union laws in Europe.

Officials from the GMB union also attended last night's meeting and will be recommending the deal to its members at Lindsey.