Mass industrial walkouts in UK

Friday, January 30, 2009

Lindsey Oil Refinery
Image: Thomas Wigham.

Workers at British industrial plants are staging mass walkouts this morning.

The workers are taking unofficial action in support of a three day strike at Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire, England. Staff have walked out at sites in Scotland, Wales and Teesside in north eastern England. The original strike was called over the awarding of a contract by refinery owners Total to an Italian company. This brought 300 Italian and Portuguese workers on to the site.

The latest reports say workers at the UK's main oil refinery at Grangemouth in Scotland have come out in sympathy, as have workers at the former ICI plant on Teesside in England and at the nearby Corus steel plant. Workers have walked out at a power station in Aberthaw in south Wales and at plants at Fidler's Ferry in Cheshire, at Lackenby in Teesside and at the gas terminals near Peterhead in Scotland and Milford Haven in Wales. A protest outside the Lindsey refinery has now dispersed but local union leaders say it will resume on Monday. The Lindsey strike continues.

Secondary industrial action has been illegal in the United Kingdom since the 1980s. However, the penalties apply only to unions organising secondary strikes, not to workers acting individually.