Refinery workers return after wildcat strike

A bitter dispute by contract workers which led to wildcat strikes at power stations and refineries across the country came to an end today.

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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