Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

HUNDREDS IN JOBS PROTEST; Workers Strike over Foreign Contractors

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

HUNDREDS IN JOBS PROTEST; Workers Strike over Foreign Contractors

Article excerpt

Byline: By GAZETTE REPORTING TEAM

HUNDREDS of Teesside workers staged a protest today as part of a national campaign against the number of construction jobs being given to foreign contractors.

From about 6.30am, construction workers manned the main gates at Wilton International Site, causing rush hour traffic build-ups on roads surrounding the complex.

About 150 workers gathered at the main Kirkleatham entrance.

But with workers also at the site's other entrances, it's estimated up to 600 people were taking part.

The protesters weren't stopping anyone entering, but gathered support and asked people to sign a petition.

They were also handing out flyers, asking for "support over the issue of overseas companies who will not employ British engineering workers".

It read: "We must defend our right to work in our own country.

It continued: "We do not want to be on the dole while foreigners do our jobs."

The dispute centres on moves to bring in hundreds of Italian and Portuguese contractors to work on a major construction project at Lindsey Oil Refinery at Killingholme, in north Lincolnshire.

Industrial action has been taking place at that site for three days, and today, construction members union workers on Teesside pledged their support by protesting at Wilton.

Sites at Grangemouth in Scotland and Staythorpe Power Station in Nottinghamshire were among other areas as the protest spread across the UK.

Some Wilton workers originally walked out yesterday afternoon, but the situation escalated this morning.

SABIC, which runs the LDPE plant at Wilton, confirmed "large numbers" of workers had not turned up for work this morning.

There are currently around 250 workers at the plant.

The company also said the strike action would delay the final stages of the plant's construction.

A SABIC spokesperson said: "It will delay the project but at this stage we cannot say how long for. We are disappointed because it does not directly involve us.

"Currently we do not have any non-UK construction workers on site, although we have called upon a very small number of specialist technical consultants from abroad. …

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