Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 12:31 UK

Refinery walkout over labour row

ConocoPhillips UK site in Killingholme
The ConocoPhillips site employs 750 people. Pic courtesy of ConocoPhillips

Hundreds of workers have walked out at two North Lincolnshire oil refineries in a dispute over the hiring of local labour at two plants in Wales.

Contract workers at the ConocoPhillips plant and Lindsey Oil Refinery started the unofficial action on Tuesday.

They walked out in support of workers at a power station and natural gas site in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire.

It is believed the strikers claim an agreement by contractors to offer jobs to local labour had been broken.

The North Lincolnshire workers told the BBC they were meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss further action.

The Unite union confirmed the action was unofficial.

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, said his union was making urgent inquiries into the cause of the dispute.

He said: "We understand that an agreement to give work on these large projects to local labour has been breached."

In a statement, ConocoPhillips said: "This morning a number of contract maintenance workforce walked out at the ConocoPhillips Humber Refinery.

"The action is unrelated to ConocoPhillips' local employment practices and no ConocoPhillips staff are involved. The action has not affected the normal operations at the site and we look forward to the situation being resolved as soon as possible."

Similar action took place in January over a £200m construction contract at Lindsey Oil Refinery being given to an Italian firm.

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