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."
- 1 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 2 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamaphobia
Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Family of man named as 'Jihadi John' described by neighbours as 'normal Muslim family'
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about man named as Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...
£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...