UK strike regarding use of foreign workers rolls on
More British workers are joining a rolling strike in support of demands that domestic rather than foreign labour be employed at the Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire.
Contractors at two nuclear plants have walked out in support of protests over the use of foreign labour, in the latest of a wave of unofficial strikes.
The walk-outs at Sellafield and Heysham came on the day talks began over the dispute, which started at Total-owned Lindsey oil refinery, Lincolnshire.
Workers at Grangemouth oil refinery and power stations in Longannet, Warrington and Staythorpe have also walked out.
Total insists it is not discriminating against British workers.
A statement said: "We recognise the concerns of contractors but we must stress that it has never been, and never will be, the policy of Total to discriminate against British companies or British workers."
Thousands took to the streets last week in unofficial walk-outs around the United Kingdom in support of workers protesting the employment of Italian and Portuguese labour at the Lindsey plant where IREM, an Italian company, is a subcontractor at the site and brought in its own employees.
Workers there were angry a contract to expand the refinery was sub-contracted by Jacobs to an Italian firm, IREM, which decided to use its own workforce.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said he expected Acas to review the situation at Killingholme "very quickly" and urged striking workers to go back to work while this process was taking place.
In a parliamentary statement he said he believed the refinery operator had not discriminated against UK workers, which he stressed would be illegal under European law.
On Monday, walk-outs have grown as hundreds of workers - mostly employed in the country's energy sector - continue to protest in solidarity with those at the Lindsey refinery.
• About 300 protesters gathered at the Lindsey refinery's terminal gates.
• Around 600 workers met in a car park at Sellafield, in Cumbria, to discuss industrial action and about 1,300 workers are believed to be taking part in a 24-hour stoppage at the plant.
• About 400 contractors at Longannet in Fife voted to stay out for 24 hours, and to return for another meeting at 0730 GMT on Tuesday.
• Some 300 contractors at the Grangemouth oil refinery in central Scotland walked out but decided they would return to work on Tuesday.
• Around 200 construction workers at Fiddlers Ferry Power station near Warrington, Cheshire, have again downed tools, following similar action on Friday.
• About 150 contractors walked out at Drax Power Station, near Selby in North Yorkshire.
• The owners of Coryton oil refinery in Thurrock, Essex, said a number of workers had walked out but refinery operations were unaffected.
• Some 500 contractors at the South Hook LNG terminal in Milford Haven, west Wales, downed tools.
• Fifty contract workers from Didcot power station in Oxfordshire have downed tools, but there's no disruption to power output.
The exploitation of foreign labourers is a worldwide problem.
In British Columbia last September, 80 construction workers from the former Yugoslavia walked off the job building the Golden Ears Bridge after their employer, Baulex Projects Ltd., hadn't paid them for two weeks.
Baulex is a subcontractor hired by the consortium awarded the public-private partnership deal by the B.C. government's Partnerships BC, to build the bridge that will connect Langley and Maple Ridge, two burgeoning suburbs of Greater Vancouver.
The construction tradespeople came to Canada under the federal government's Temporary Foreign Worker Program, a scheme that some argue enables labour brokers to exploit vulnerable workers from economically depressed countries. Workers are 'imported' and paid lower wages - with few if any benefits - than their domestic counterparts.