Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#IceBucketChallenge and hashtag activism

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The world’s dictators love the unrest in Ferguson'

Read more

ENCORE!

Montreal Stories

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

More than half of French households will pay no income tax this year

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users taking on the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to fight ALS

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • Ex-PM Juppé announces bid for 2017 French presidential race

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • IS militants ‘behead’ missing US journalist in gruesome video

    Read more

  • Deadly airstrikes hit Gaza as ceasefire with Israel collapses

    Read more

  • Tentative peace in Ferguson despite second fatal shooting

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Iraqi army clashes with militants in Tikrit after retaking key dam

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

  • ‘Let it be’: Londoners sick of Abbey Road tourists

    Read more

  • Australia to free children from immigration detention centres

    Read more

Europe

Strikes against foreign workers continue

Latest update : 2009-02-03

Wildcats strikes at nuclear sites and oil refineries continue across Britain. Short-term-contracted British employees are protesting against the use of around 100 Italian and Portuguese contractors for a building project at the Lindsey refinery.

AFP - Wildcat strikes against foreign workers resumed on Monday at energy plants across Britain, fuelled by fears of rising job cuts amid the global slowdown.
   
At least 600 contractors at the Sellafield and Heysham nuclear facilities in northwest England were among the latest wave of workers to join protests which first flared last week. Managers insist safety and production will not be hit.
   
They and others came out against the use of around 100 Italian and Portuguese contractors on a 200 million pound (222 million euro, 286 million dollar) building project at the Lindsey oil refinery, owned by French oil giant Total, at Immingham in eastern England.
   
The action has yet to hit energy supplies but with much of Britain battling through the worst snowfall in 20 years, the action has stirred memories of the 1978-79 "winter of discontent", when industrial action crippled everything from rubbish collection to grave digging.
   
The strikes have been condemned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, despite a previous pledge by him to provide "British jobs for British workers" in 2007.
   
"I recognise that people are worried about their jobs at the moment and I want them and their colleagues to be treated fairly," he said Monday.
   
"But I don't believe that strike action will be anything other than counterproductive".
   
European Union law enshrines the right to freedom of movement of workers among the 27 member states, which includes Britain.
   
Unemployment in Britain has risen sharply in recent months amid the global economic downturn -- two million people are jobless and the unemployment rate is 6.1 percent.
   
Hundreds of workers at a handful of facilites around Britain, including around 500 at the giant Milford Haven gas terminal, took part in the strikes Monday.
   
Some 1,000 workers gathered at Lindsey, where the dispute arose.
   
Keith Gibson of the Unite trade union told the crowd: "I think there should be a call for industrial action right around this country to make the government aware of how we feel and how we're not prepared to let this industry go to the dogs."
   
Unite's joint leader Derek Simpson said the current flexible labour market was a "one-way street that only benefits the employers".
   
"The problem is not workers from other European countries working in the UK, nor is it about foreign contractors winning contracts in the UK," he said.
   
"The problem is that employers are excluding UK workers from even applying for work on these contracts."
   
Total, Lindsey's operators, insists it does not discriminate against British workers and says most of its permanent staff are local.
   
Talks between the union, employers and mediators are taking place Monday in a bid to resolve the dispute.
   

Date created : 2009-02-03

COMMENT(S)