U.K. Protests at Foreign Contract Workers Spread
Protests against the use of foreign workers at Total SA's Lindsey refinery in northeast England spread to Sellafield Ltd.'s nuclear plant as politicians from all main parties called on staff to end the wildcat strikes, Bloomberg reported.
Around 900 construction contractors at the Sellafield nuclear plant in northwest England walked off the job for 24 hours, said Ali McKibbin, a spokesman at the plant. Employees at Lindsey walked out on Jan. 28 in protest over an Italian contractor bringing in its own staff. They say the company is discriminating against British workers, a claim denied by Total.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government says the protests are groundless and that the companies involved are acting legally. In response, the strikers carried placards bearing Brown's 2007 promise to create "British jobs for British workers."
"I understand people are concerned about their jobs," Brown said at a press conference in London today. "I do not believe that the strike action will be anything but counterproductive. We will do anything in our power to help people stay in their jobs but also to help people get new jobs if their jobs are lost."