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Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Sunday, 1 February 2009

PM: Wildcat strikes 'not defensible'

In an exclusive interview with Jon Sopel in Davos, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, in reference to the hundreds of workers that staged walkouts across the country, said he understood workers' fears but wildcat strikes are "not defensible".

The Gordon Brown interview

He has told refinery workers, protesting at the use of foreign staff that it was "not the right thing to do" adding that "no government in history is doing more to try and find ways to help people who are unemployed back into work as quickly as possible".

Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Brown said, "What we've got to do over time, as I've always said, is that where there are jobs in this country, we need people with the skills, developed in this country."

Tackled by Jon Sopel about his 2007 Labour conference pledge to create "British jobs for British workers" - a slogan used by the striking refinery workers - Mr Brown said: "Well, we are part of a single European market but I have always understood the worries that people have.

"They look round and say, well, why can't we do these jobs ourselves, these are jobs that we can do.

"When I talked about British jobs, I was talking about giving people in Britain the skills, so that they have the ability to get jobs which were at present going to people from abroad."

International cooperation

Gordon Brown
I've utter faith in our ability as a British people also, to come through difficulties
Gordon Brown

On wider questions of the economy, he said he was pushing for further international cooperation in getting other countries to copy his fiscal stimulus and bank bail out schemes.

And despite gloomy predictions from the IMF, he remained upbeat about Britain's future.

"I'm utterly confident about the future of the United Kingdom economy," he said.

"Utterly confident about our ability to work with other countries to deal with the problem.

"I think Britain is one of the countries that will be the great success stories of the next period of global change.

"Why? Because we've got low inflation and low interest rates.

"Why? Because we've got very, very good companies.

"Why? Because we've got great industries that are developing from the knowledge intensive industries, to meet environmental technologies, to advance manufacturing where we hold a very strong position."

Britain strong

Mr Brown went on: "I've utter faith in our ability as a British people also, to come through difficulties, to realise problems, to be resilient in facing them and then to see that we can actually solve these problems by working together.

"And I think British people understand that despite all the problems that we have had in the international economy over the last few years, that Britain is a strong country and ready at to come through what are real difficulties, but Britain has always met difficulties."

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