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GMB man arrested at Redhall protest

A national official of a leading trade union has been arrested 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.