Equal opportunities code for public sector contracts likely after wildcat strikes

Employers bidding for public sector contracts will have to consider using British workers in the future in a bid to prevent any repeat of the foreign worker wildcat strikes.

Protestors at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire have returned to work today (5 February) following a week of strikes over the use of foreign labour in construction contracts.

A deal brokered by the mediation service Acas provides 100 new jobs for British workers in addition to the 195 posts awarded to an Italian company.

According to media reports, ministers are keen to use a code drawn up by the Engineering Construction Industry Association (ECIA) outlining principles for firms to consider “when using non-UK contractors and labour on engineering construction sites”.

The ECIA said its code was developed in response to an increasing number of contracts being won by non-UK contractors who then wanted to use non-British workers in the UK.

Mike Hockey, the association’s managing director, told the Daily Telegraph: “Although it is legal for non-UK companies to supply their own, non-UK, employees… the guide promotes harmonious industrial relations through ensuring that equal opportunities are given to both UK and non-UK labour to apply for any vacancies that are advertised.”

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