Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More demonstrations over foreign workers

Demonstrators were outside power stations again today as the row over foreign workers refused to die.

Hundreds of unemployed engineering construction workers staged protests at the Staythorpe power station near Nottingham and the Grain power station in Kent.

The demonstrators claim main contractor Alstom is using foreign subcontractors on the sites who are refusing to consider local labour.

Alstom has been contracted by RWE to build the Staythorpe power station, a gas-fired power station near Newark. Two companies, Montpressa and FMM, have been subcontracted to carry out construction work on the site.

The Unite union claims the two non-UK companies have no intention of employing any local labour to undertake the work. ADVERTISEMENT

More demonstrations over foreign workers

Unite estimates that 600 jobs will be needed to build the power station's turbine and boiler and another 250 to build the pipe connecting the two.

At the Isle of Grain, Unite said two subcontractors, Remak and ZRE, have also refused to consider applications for work from UK-based labour.

The union estimates that the two subcontractors will require 450 workers over the lifetime of the project. Alstom has been contracted by E.on to build the power station.

Unite's joint general secretary, Derek Simpson said: “Unemployed construction workers are asking for fairness not favours. Alstom has the power to insist that the sub-contractors end this scandalous situation. UK-based labour must be given a fair chance to get a cut of the action to build a new generation of UK power stations.

"The government is beginning to grasp the seriousness of the present situation but we now need to see the follow through. The government must ensure that construction companies sign up to Corporate Social Responsibility agreements, which commit to fair access for UK Labour.

"No European worker should be barred from applying for a British job and absolutely no British worker should be barred from applying for a British job."

Simpson is also leading a delegation of Unite members working in engineering and construction who will deliver a petition to Number 10 today, calling on Gordon Brown to insist that employers give UK workers fair access to work on UK engineering and construction projects.

Following the delivery of the petition, construction workers will meet with MPs and Peers in the Houses of Parliament to put forward their case for fairness not favours.

The petition, signed by thousands of engineering and construction workers, many of whom are currently unemployed, also calls for overseas workers to be paid in line with agreed UK rates.

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