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Workers relieved at toilet solution

Workers at a new power station who walked out on unofficial strike in a row over toilets have agreed to return to work after they were promised more facilities.

Around 300 engineering construction workers stopped work on the site in Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire, yesterday in a protest about unhygienic toilets.

The workers claimed there were just eight toilets for around 650 staff and that they had to bring their own toilet paper at the weekend.

Union representatives and stewards met with management at the site this morning and promised workers they would be provided with extra facilities if they agreed to return to work tomorrow.

Geoff Hunt, senior steward for site contractor Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI), spoke to workers outside the plant after the two-hour meeting and told them the company had agreed to open another two blocks of toilets and provide them with full-time cleaners.

He said there would be no loss of pay for the two days on strike.

Tony Duckitt, also a senior steward, told workers: "As stewards, all of us feel it's a fair deal. They've pulled their socks up, it's going to be spick and span. There's people working on these toilets all day and more coming on site as well. They've got their act together."

The stewards comments were met with cheers and applause from the striking workers who unanimously agreed to return to work in the morning.

A 65 MW multi-fuel plant is under construction at the site for energy giant SSE and is expected to be operational by 2015.

Workers earlier gathered peacefully around the gates to the site, which were guarded by police officers.

While they waited to hear the results of the meeting, they chatted and bought food and hot drinks from a mobile sandwich van, which was parked at the entrance to the site.

Rob Hale, 30, a scaffolder from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, said the workers walked out because hygiene facilities at the site were not adequate.

He said: "We walked out over facilities, toilets and welfare in general not being maintained.

"It wasn't up to scratch. There weren't enough toilets for the amount of men - there were eight toilets on site to accommodate 650 men - and they weren't being maintained at weekends. There was no toilet paper.

"From Friday afternoon until Monday morning those toilets were not being touched. They weren't being cleaned out.

"Even the flies had moved out."

Workers welcomed the news that they were to be provided with more toilets, with one shouting "Well done lads" to the union representatives and stewards who helped resolve the issue.

Speaking as the workers left the site, Mr Hunt said: "At the end of the day, the men have raised concerns about the facilities on site, we've gone back in and negotiated with HZI, they're going to put extra facilities on and it's been resolved."

Tim Roache, the GMB's regional secretary in Yorkshire, said: "The company has agreed to install more sanitary and welfare facilities on the site as appropriate and work will resume as normal tomorrow morning."


From Belfast Telegraph