Striking UK refinery workers vote to end walkout
LONDON (AP) — Striking workers at a British refinery voted unanimously Thursday to end their wildcat walkout over the hiring of foreign workers. Staff at the Lindsey oil refinery in northeast England accepted a deal negotiated by their union, management and mediators that will create 102 new jobs for British workers. They will return to work on Monday. “We have now got the chance to go back to work but the fight does not stop here,” said Phil Whitehurst, an official with the GMB union. The strike was triggered by the decision of Italian construction company IREM SpA to use Italian and Portuguese workers for a huge project at a Total refinery in northeastern England. None of those workers will lose their jobs under the agreement. Hundreds of workers have been off the job for more than a week at the refinery, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of London. Employees at other energy facilities have staged sympathy walkouts. Under European Union rules, the Italian and Portuguese laborers have the same right to work in Britain as British citizens do — and Britons have the right to work in other EU nations. The Lindsey workers, however, claim British workers were unfairly excluded from applying for jobs on the project. The protests touched a nerve across Britain, reflecting concern about rising unemployment — currently at 6.1 percent — and fears of more layoffs as the global economic slump worsens. “There was an uprising here but I don’t think it’s going to stop,” said Whitehurst, the union official. “We have started it but I think it’s going to carry on elsewhere.” British government officials have said they understand workers’ concerns, but argue protectionism will make the economic downturn worse. But Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday that the construction industry had agreed on new guidelines that advised employers to “always consider whether there are competent workers locally” when hiring for a project.
WE’VE WON THANKS TO DAILY STAR
February 6, 2009
UNION chiefs last night praised the Daily Star for helping their jobs victory and declared: “We couldn’t have done this without you.” [“We couldn’t have done it without the support of the Daily Star and its readers ~ GMB union strike chief Phil Whitehurst.]
NICE PAIR OF STRIKERS
…THE Daily Star sent in our own strikers to cheer up the wildcat strikers yesterday. Page 3 babes Charlotte McKenna and Porchia Watson, both, 21, were welcomed by wolf-whistle at the Lindsey site. Striker Robert Robson, 26, of Glasgow, told the gorgeous Star favourites: “Thanks for coming all this way girls. It’s made our day.”
Discontents, wintry and otherwise
February 5, 2009
Worries about Britain’s open labour market are growing
…Though case-by-case solutions may emerge, the underlying tension between openness and protectionism will endure. That the Tories and the Liberal Democrats have had little to say beyond lampooning Mr Brown’s foolish slogan underlines a shared view that Britain must back open markets while giving its workers skills superior to their competitors’. But challenges to this consensus may come from the protectionist far-left and the nationalist far-right. The cosy prosperity of the past decade was barren ground for political extremes; the coming years might not be.
ten days that shook new labour
an article on the refinery strikes by john mcdonnell mp
february 5, 2009
Communist Party of Britain Marxist-Leninist
Workers take charge at Lindsey Oil Refinery
It has started, and not before time. Workers across the country are on the move. Construction, oil and energy workers in Grangemouth, Milford Haven, Aberthaw, Warrington, Southampton, Teeside, Darlington and elsewhere are walking out of their workplaces in support of Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers in Lincolnshire… [PDF]
See also : British Jobs for British Workers?