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Foreign staff row prompts strike

AROUND 70 workers have walked off site at a power station in Nottingham in a row over foreign labour.

German firm RWE is building the Cottam power station on behalf of energy group EDF. But workers started an unofficial strike at the site gates last week to protest against a Hungarian worker being kicked off the job.

RWE hired Hungarian firm SFL as a subcontractor at the site, but it emerged that SFL was paying its Hungarian workers only £4 an hour, a third of the UK workers' national agreement.

One Hungarian worker then joined engineering union Amicus, but was removed from the site and told to go back to Hungary to resolve his employment dispute with SFL. But RWE claims he failed to meet with SFL and now cannot return to work at Cottam.

The UK workers say they will not return to the job until the Hungarian is allowed back.

RWE was due to meet SFL and the unions today (Thursday).

An RWE spokesman said: 'We are endeavouring to resolve the dispute between one of our subcontractors and one of their employees. RWE believe the illegal action to be unnecessarily detrimental to the project.' In 2003, 600 workers protested at the same site against Portuguese workers they claimed were operating unsafely.

See Agenda, page 10