Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 13:00 UK

Walkout at second power station

Longannet Power Station
Contract workers at Longannet have staged a walkout

Workers at the Cockenzie Power Station in East Lothian have joined unofficial strike action in support of sacked workers at a Lincolnshire oil refinery.

The majority of 150 contract workers at Longannet power station in Fife had already decided to prolong their wildcat strike action.

They had walked out in support of strikers at the Lindsey refinery.

Scottish Power confirmed its workers were not involved in the action and power supplies would not be affected.

A spokesman said: "Following meetings at Longannet and Cockenzie this morning, where trade unions and their shop stewards advised contractors against unofficial industrial action, a small number of workers have chosen to go against this recommendation and will not be working today.

"The contractors involved at both sites are not employed directly by Scottish Power and are undertaking maintenance work over the summer period. Scottish Power employees are not involved, and production of power supplies at both sites remain unaffected."

Total has dropped its opposition to talks with the Lindsey workforce.

The company, which runs the facility in North Lincolnshire, had previously insisted that negotiations could only take place if staff returned to work.

It has now said it is actively encouraging talks.

The GMB union is to hold a national strike ballot about employment laws. The union said the ballot had been planned for some weeks and was not just a response to the protest at the Lindsey oil refinery.

Bitter dispute

Thousands of workers across England and Wales have also walked out in support of 647 staff sacked there.

Total has told the sacked workers to reapply for their jobs.

The dismissals came after about 1,200 workers staged unofficial walkouts at the plant over a jobs dispute.

The workers had accused bosses of breaking an agreement not to cut jobs while there were vacancies elsewhere on the site. Total insisted no such agreement was in place.

Workers say the assurances were given in February, following a bitter dispute in which they said foreign labour was being used to exclude British contractors and to undermine conditions.

The row in February led to a wave of unofficial strikes and protests at refineries and power stations across the UK, including at Longannet.

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