ELECTRICITY workers carried out their second 48-hour strike this week despite being warned their pre-Christmas pay packets would be held back.
Manweb, which carries out power cable repair work in Halton, usually pays its employees a week early for the festive period.
But this week striking staff were warned they would not receive their wages until Christmas Eve.
Workers who have refused to strike will receive their pay packets five days before Christmas.
It was also revealed militant colleagues from the firm's parent company ScottishPower wouldn't be paid until after the holiday.
But union leaders blasted the move as more than 1,600 workers continued the industrial action on Tuesday and Wednesday.
One Manweb worker said: 'This shows a complete lack of respect for us workers. It is petty action from the company, which seems to be flexing its muscles at the expense of the workers and their families.
'All they are doing is punishing workers who have dared to stand up for their rights. This will ruin Christmas for a lot of families.'
A Manweb spokeswoman said: 'We normally pay workers on the 21st as a goodwill gesture at Christmas but due to the problems in adjusting the pay for the striking workers this month it is not going to be possible to do it as early as usual.
'We are still paying the workers before Christmas as we said we would and we are doing our best to make sure we honour this. There is no malice in the decision at all.'
The workers have promised not to strike over Christmas, but will stage more walkouts on January 8 and 9 following a third strike next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Last week's opening strike saw about 400 essential maintenance workers down tools at sites which serve the Halton area.
The workers are protesting against ScottishPower's decision to transfer more than 300 staff to Core Utility Solutions, a joint venture with Alfred McAlpine.