HINKLEY Point B power station near Bridgwater lost up to £1million a day as contractors staged a mass walkout last week, a striking contractor has claimed.

Several hundred contract workers packed up their tools the Friday before last and stayed away from the plant all last week in support of the 650 construction workers laid off by oil giant Total at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire.

One contract worker at Hinkley B said many of the contract staff involved in the strike had been carrying out annual maintenance repairs known as outage on one of the reactors.

The worker said: “One of the reactors was shut down and dismantled at the start of the week and it has been in bits ever since with no one to put it back together.

“It is costing Hinkley about £1million a day with only one half functioning.”

He added: “Feelings have been running high and we decided to walk out and put our jobs on the line.

“Those who have been sacked in Lindsey have been treated with disrespect and we feel we are doing what is right.”

A spokesman for British Energy said between 300 and 400 hundred contractors walked out last Friday before returning on Monday and leaving again the next day.

He said the firm would not comment on financial losses but confirmed the outage work on reactor three, which began on May 22, had been left incomplete.

The workers returned to work yesterday (Monday) following successful talks at the Lindsey Oil Refinery.