Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Walkout supports refinery strikes

Walkout at Lindsey refinery, North Lincs, Friday
The walkout in Lincolnshire is into its third day

About 140 contract workers have downed tools in Hampshire in support of a mass walkout by workers in Lincolnshire angry at the use of foreign workers.

The Siemens' employees, who are working on the Marchwood Power Station development, walked out at 1000 GMT.

The building site employs a total of about 800 workers, of which 65% are British or Irish nationals.

The original strike started at Lindsey Oil Refinery after owner Total gave a 200m contract to an Italian firm.

They have been supported by hundreds of other "sympathy" strikers in Scotland, Wales and other parts of England.

Total said there would be no "direct redundancies" as a result of the deal.

I am not certain how long this action will last but there is a suggestion everyone will be back at work for Monday
Spokesman for Marchwood Power Station

Marchwood Power Station has been under construction for two years and is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

A spokesman said: "The site is still running with the workers who remained on site. Clearly some work has been affected by this. I am not certain how long this action will last but there is a suggestion everyone will be back at work for Monday."

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said the angry British workers in Lincolnshire were "entitled to an answer".

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 "fair" tendering process.

The leaders of Unite and the GMB had urged the prime minister to call an urgent meeting with the heads of industry in engineering and construction.

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