Union leader arrested at jobs row site

A national official of a leading trade union was arrested today at the site of a new bio-ethanol plant which has been at the centre of an increasingly bitter row over jobs.

Sources said GMB official Phil Whitehurst was arrested by Humberside Police under Section 14 of the Public Order Act outside the plant at Saltend, near Hull.

Mr Whitehurst is due to attend peace talks today in the latest attempt to resolve the dispute, which flared months ago after hundreds of workers were laid off, sparking unofficial industrial action.

A series of demonstrations have been held outside the site and there was a warning yesterday that thousands of workers at power station and oil refinery sites across the UK could be involved in a national day of action.

A GMB spokesman said: "Our legal officers have been examining the police use of Section 14 and the union plans to issue a legal challenge."

Electricians and scaffolders yesterday refused to cross picket lines at the new plant, being built by Vivergo for BP.

It is believed that union shop stewards from across the engineering construction industry will meet next week to discuss organising a national day of protest unless the row is resolved.

The action would involve thousands of workers from power station and oil refinery sites across the country and would be the worst outbreak of industrial unrest since a row over foreign labour at the Lindsey oil refinery in North Lincolnshire two years ago.

Vivergo said yesterday that it had made an offer of £3,500 to hundreds of workers affected by the termination of a contract with their former employer, Redhall Engineering.

"We have continually stressed to the unions that, when new contractors are in place, any new employment opportunities will be advertised so that former Redhall workers can apply for the jobs.

"The new contractors will be impacted by ongoing protest activity, which is why we are trying to resolve the situation quickly for the benefit of all concerned.

"The priority remains to get construction at our site back on track - opening up any new employment opportunities and to ensure that the 500 wider contracted workers can continue in employment," said a spokesman.













A Humberside police spokesman said a 56-year-old man had been arrested outside the plant under Section 14 of the Public Order Act and taken to a police station in Hull.







Maria Ludkin, the GMB's legal officer, said: "GMB members who have been locked out of the site since March have been engaged in lawful, legal protest against BP and the main contractors.



"Every attempt by the union to get BP to reopen the site to allow our members to complete this engineering project has been met with a blank refusal to even acknowledge that these workers have rights which are being trampled upon.



"GMB will challenge any charge in the courts and is preparing a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority, in relation to the provocative and overbearing policing of this dispute."







Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy