Up to 150 striking electricians are continuing to picket the £154m Pfizer pharmaceutical plant in Sandwich, Kent. The workers were sacked last week by M&E contractor Balfour Kilpatrick after they went on unofficial strike over alleged safety concerns at the site.

Bob Johnson, account manager at construction manager Amec, denied that the job was falling behind schedule and refused to elaborate on a statement he made last week that Amec and Balfour Kilpatrick were attempting to bring in extra labour to complete the project.

Johnson said work on the project was being re-sequenced to accommodate the stoppage, but declined to comment further.

The strikers are members of electrical union AEEU.

AEEU representative Brian Boyd said: “The company is obligated to use directly employed labour under Joint Industry Board rules. If it uses agency labour, we would pursue it through the JIB disputes procedures. It’s the only thing open to the AEEU.”

He added: “What we’re trying to do is find a way to get every man his job back. There are safety issues that need to be addressed, although this should be done through official procedures.”

Balfour Kilpatrick’s spokesperson refused to say how many of the 240 dismissed electricians had reapplied for their jobs. However, it is understood to be about 20%.