LINDSEY VICTORY! – all 647 sacked men to return to work‘It’s a good deal,’ sacked Lindsey oil refinery worker Dave Pritchard told News Line yesterday.

Sacked Lindsey workers and their supporters marching on Tuesday in a 2,000-strong show of strength
Sacked Lindsey workers and their supporters marching on Tuesday in a 2,000-strong show of strength

‘It’s a good deal,’ sacked Lindsey oil refinery worker Dave Pritchard told News Line yesterday.

He was responding to the agreement reached on Thursday night between union negotiators and refinery owner Total, contractor Jacob and subcontractor Shaws.

The sacked Lindsey workers had been planning to stage a demonstration outside the Paris headquarters of Total next week.

Pritchard continued: ‘There’s a mass meeting on Monday, that will be a formality.

‘People are pleased with themselves. We’ve got it settled.

‘Everybody will be relieved across the country.

‘We had good negotiators but without the other lads coming out it wouldn’t have been concluded.

‘We came out, not just for ourselves but for other industries up and down the country.’

Another sacked Lindsey worker, Sean Reed said: ‘Everybody is getting their job back, all 647 men.

‘I’m looking forward to being back at work.

‘It is a success, they’ve listened to us because of the stand we took.

‘I think they knew we would stay out until we got what we wanted.

‘We’ve set a good example, I don’t think they’ll try anything like they did again.

‘It cost them at least £5m. The backing we got from around the country helped a lot.’

One of the union negotiators, GMB national secretary Phil Davies told News Line: ‘The agreement does not cover workers who came out in sympathy.

‘But we have a handshake understanding with the ECIA (Engineering Construction Industry Association) that no one will be victimised.

‘If any of our members are, we will defend them.

‘And this is not over yet, we are going ahead with the national ballot for industrial action over pay, the audit system and rightful access to our members.’

GMB senior organiser John Wilson told News Line: ‘The deal is what we were trying to achieve from day one: rescind all the dismissal notices for the 647 men and also secure employment for the 51 who were at risk.

‘We are very pleased with the outcome, albeit this could have been achieved two weeks ago.

‘I feel Jacob and Shaws, and Total, were put under immense pressure to find a solution by the spontaneous support for the sacked workers.

‘The shop stewards committee will be recommending acceptance at a mass meeting outside the Lindsey plant on Monday, and a swift and speedy return to work.

‘There are still outstanding issues in regards to a pay claim, and we will review our position on the national ballot for industrial action.’

Unite assistant general secretary Les Bayliss 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.

‘The negotiations took place through the national joint council for engineering and construction and it was clearly the right decision. Unite has maintained the integrity of the national agreement for the construction industry.

‘It’s time that the government repealed the anti-trade union legislation, UK workers are victims of the most restrictive trade union laws in Europe.’

Yesterday morning, staff at some of the sites affected by the sympathy strikes began to return to work.

Hundreds of workers at Sellafield in Cumbria and Longannet in Fife, who had downed tools, voted to end their walkouts.

Other sites affected by industrial action following the Lindsey dispute included Drax and Eggborough in North Yorkshire, Stanlow in Cheshire, Aberthaw in south Wales and Didcot in Oxfordshire.