UK oil refinery protests spreading - hundreds walk out
Yesterday, as a nation-wide general strike shut down much of France, oil refinery workers in the UK were also striking. Today they have been joined by workers from another plant. They say they are protesting their management's decision to hire foreign workers instead of British ones. Specifically, they are angry over a recent decision to bring in Italian workers. The protestors say the companies are only doing it to save money. However the company has pointed out that they are paying the Italian workers the same wage they pay the British workers. And as EU citizens, Italians have the same right to work in the UK as British citizens.
About 700 employees at the Ineos-owned Grangemouth plant on the Firth of Forth have begun an unofficial strike in solidarity with fellow energy workers at the Total Lindsey Oil Refinery on the North Lincolnshire coast.
Similar action has gained the support of hundreds of oil workers near Redcar, Teeside and in Aberthaw power station in South Wales.
Yesterday Longannet Power Station in Fife suffered a mass walk-out in another unofficial move. BP's Dimlington gas terminal in East Yorkshire and its chemical manufacturing plant in Saltend, Hull were also hit.
Staff at the Lindsey refinery originally began their strike on Wednesday to protest at Total's decision to award a £200 million construction contract to Italian firm Irem, using foreign labour.
The refinery covers 500 acres and is the third largest in the UK, processing 10 million tonnes of crude per year - 200,000 barrels per day.