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Anger over biofuel plant 'lock-out'

Union leaders have warned of a fresh dispute involving UK workers being replaced with lower paid overseas staff amid claims of a lock-out at the site of Europe’s fifth largest biofuel plant.

Officials accused contractors on the site at Saltend in Hull of treating workers “disgracefully” and using them as an “industrial football”.

Workers held protest meetings today, while the GMB warned that the site could be the scene of another dispute about UK workers being replaced by overseas staff, as happened at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in North Lincolnshire.

GMB official Les Dobbs said: “GMB members have increasing fears that the dismissal of the UK based workforce will lead to them being replaced with lower paid exploited overseas workers.

“Jacobs, who own Aker Process - the project manager on this site - were also involved at Lindsey Oil Refinery when the dispute arose over the exclusion of UK workers from the site to be replaced with lower paid overseas workers and are therefore knowledgeable of the concerns and damage that this type of dispute can cause.

“GMB members are effectively locked out by the main contractors.”

Bernard McAulay, national officer of Unite, said workers were being used as an “industrial football”, adding: “The union is taking hundreds of legal cases for issues ranging from unfair dismissal to unlawful deduction of wages.

“Our members have been available to work and complete this project to the highest industry standards, but are being denied that opportunity.”