Sympathy strikes spread in oil giant ‘Italian jobs’ row

Sympathy strikes are breaking out across the UK in protest against an oil giant awarding a £200m building contract to an Italian firm employing Italian workers – thereby ‘costing’ British workers’ jobs.

Hundreds of employees gathered for the third day of the original strike at Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire after owner Total gave a multi-million pound contract to build new units to an Italian firm. They have now been joined by strikers among the oil industry in Grangemouth, central Scotland Aberthaw, South Wales and Teesside, according to the BBC.

Total bosses said the Italian firm IREM, which employs a specialist workforce, had won the contract to construct the new HDS-3 unit at the Lindsey plant, after a tendering process. More than 300 of the Italian firm’s employees have been brought in to do the work.

There would be “no direct redundancies” at the Lincolnshire refinery as a result of the contract for the Italian company, Total added.

However, the strike appears to be spreading to other industries. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that up to 200 people have gathered outside the Corus plant, which makes steel, near Redcar.

Protesters argue that British workers should have priority of access to jobs.

Earlier today, around 700 workers at the Grangemouth Oil Refinery walked out in solidarity with the Lincolnshire strikers, while South Wales Police said they were attending a peace protest of around 50 people protest at Aberthaw Power Station.

Cleveland Police said that around 400 demonstrators were at all four gates of the former ICI complex at Wilton on Teesside.

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