Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ferrybridge power station protest held over 'cheap labour'

Ferrybridge Image copyright National Shop Stewards Network
Image caption Both employed and unemployed construction workers attended the protest

Construction workers have protested at an energy-from-waste plant over the alleged use of cheap labour from abroad.

About 150 people waved placards and flags at the Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 building site in West Yorkshire.

Protesters claim the general contactor Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) had contracted work out to some employers who were not taking on local workers.

An HZI spokesman said it was committed to using UK labour for the project.

Neil Dawson, who helped organise the protest, said: "There's a deep anger from these lads, a lot of them unemployed, who want to secure employment on the project.

"They have the skills, ability and want to make it a success.

"This dispute isn't about foreign workers, it's about the contractor giving these lads a fair opportunity to secure work."

'Industry in crisis'

Workers claim guidelines about using local labour under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry have been bypassed.

Keith Gibson, a construction worker from Hull, said: "At the minute, the construction industry is in crisis.

"We've got no worries whatsoever about European workers, what we're concerned about is companies undercutting terms and conditions."

But HZI said two thirds of workers on the site are from the UK.

It added: "We are confident that the majority of workers, representing hundreds of construction jobs, engaged over the lifetime of the project will be from the UK."

Image caption About 150 people put up placards and waved flags at the Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 site

Multifuel Energy Ltd, a joint venture between SSE and Wheelabrator Technologies, opened the power station Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 in 2015.

A second power station, which aims to generate more than 50 megawatts of energy, is now under construction at the site.

SSE said it supported HZI's approach of "trying to maximise local employment opportunities where possible".

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