British workers in protest over foreigners

January 30th, 2009 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 30 (IANS) Workers across Britain staged unofficial walkouts Friday in spreading protest over the hiring of foreigners at British refineries. Angry workers have walked out of a dozen refineries across Britain this week saying construction projects bagged by European companies were now planning to hire foreign labour.

Around 1,000 employees walked out at a Scottish refinery Friday over a reported decision by an Italian construction company to use Italian and Portuguese workers for a 200 million-pound project at a Total refinery in Lincolnshire, northeast England.

Hundreds of others walked out in similar protests in Scotland and Wales.

“What’s happening at the Lindsey oil refinery is the same situation that’s occurring in two or three or even more construction sites across Britain,” said Derek Simpson, general secretary of the Unite union.

“It’s not the question of foreign workers. It is the question that some of these companies … are saying they will exclusively debar UK workers, they will not consider UK workers under any circumstances.”

Total said in a statement Friday that the “vast majority” of the contract workers at the Lindsay plant were British nationals.

The protests come in the backdrop of Prime Minister Gordon Brown promising “British jobs for British workers” in 2007 and unemployment touching 1.92 million in 2008.

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