CONSTRUCTION WORKERS who walked out on a wildcat strike in a row over toilets are back at work today after they were promised more facilities.
Staff working on a new power station at Ferrybridge, near Castleford, West Yorkshire, walked out on Tuesday night over claims there were just eight toilets for 650 staff, facilities were unhygienic and they were forced to bring in their own toilet paper at weekends. Members of Unite the Union and GMB held an unofficial picket outside the gates of the site yesterday, where a multi-fuel station is being constructed for energy giant SSE.
But after a two-hour meeting between union representatives, stewards for site contractor Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI), and management, the company agreed to open another two blocks of toilets and provide full-time cleaners.
Geoff Hunt, senior steward for HZI, delivered the news to relieved workers gathered outside the plant. 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.
Unite member Peter Beaumont, said the issue had been ongoing for 12 months.
“When you need to go to the toilet you don’t have time to start balloting the members,” he said. “When you have got hundreds of men and they need to go to the toilet and they need to clean their hands before they have their dinner, it’s an important thing. We needed to withdraw our labour.”
Rob Hale, 30, a scaffolder from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, said: “From Friday afternoon until Monday morning those toilets were not being touched. Even the flies had moved out.”