Bloomberg News

U.K. Unions Start Talks With Total’s U.K. Contract Companies

June 23, 2009

U.K. unions are meeting with contractor companies working on a construction project at Total SA’s Lindsey refinery in a bid to solve a labor dispute.

The Engineering Construction Industry Association is meeting with the GMB and Unite unions, Steve Pryle, a GMB spokesman said today by mobile phone. Unite said earlier representatives from contractors Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and Shaw Group Inc. would be present at the talks.

Labor action at the 221,000-barrel-a-day plant began on June 11 as workers building a hydro-desulfurization unit downed tools to protest job cuts by Jacobs and Shaw. The walkout has prompted sympathy strikes by thousands of contract workers at power stations and other industrial sites across the U.K.

Total would not say whether it is participating in the talks, spokesman Iain Hutchison said by phone today.

Contractors building a bioethanol plant for Ensus Ltd. in northern England stopped work in support of the Lindsey action.

About 1,100 contractors walked off the job this morning, a company spokesman said, declining to be named in line with company policy.

Construction of the unit, which will be able to produce 400 million liters (106 million gallons) of bioethanol a year for use in gasoline, was “nearly complete” at the plant in Wilton, Teesside, Chief Executive Officer Alwyn Hughes said on June 9.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rachel Graham in London at rgraham13@bloomberg.net; Stephen Voss in London at sev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net


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