Construction workers stage protest at Ferrybridge power station

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Unemployed construction workers and union activists have staged a protest outside Ferrybridge power station today (Wednesday).

More than 100 people protested at the entrance to a new £300m multi-fuel plant which is currently being built.

Bosses from the Unite union said the contactor, Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI), had contracted work out to some employers who were not taking on local workers.

Chris Weldon, Unite regional officer, said: “There are over 300 CVs of unemployed local workers who live within 35 miles of the site on a database at Ferrybridge.

“They are ready to work and they have got the skills but they are being overlooked. We are protesting today to demand that workers whether local or not are treated fairly and that means getting the opportunity to apply for work and being treated equally. Ferrybridge is an important project for the local economy so it is outrageous that local workers are being excluded.”

HZI bosses said about 80 per cent of the current work force was UK-based and it would continue to work with the unions to “maximize local opportunities”.

Mr Venter, of HZI, said the company had been working with the Unite and GMB unions and all sides had signed an agreement on how contractors would be sourced.

He said the firm complied with national industry agreements and was “disappointed” about the protest.

Planning permission to construct a multi-fuel plant at the Ferrybridge ‘C’ Power Station site was granted in October 2011.

It will use a range of fuel sources, including biomass, waste-derived fuels and waste wood, to generate electricity.

The project is expected to be completed in 2015.