British workers walk out on Lindsey refinery

British construction contractors at Total SA's Lindsey's refinery have staged a walkout in protest over the company's decision to hire foreign counterparts.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Jan. 30 -- British construction contractors at Total SA's Lindsey's refinery have staged a walkout in protest over the company's decision to hire foreign counterparts.

They claim that skilled local men are being laid off in favor of cheap labor from abroad, a charge Total denies.

Around 600 contractors left the 200,000 b/d Lindsey refinery in eastern England on Jan. 28 after a contract to build a diesel hydrodesulfurization unit was awarded to IREM, an Italian company. Hundreds continued to protest outside the refinery on Jan. 29, but Total said that operations had not been affected.

Lindsey is the third largest refinery in the UK. Total has pledged to keep existing contractors despite the contract award. It insisted that it had not hired the foreign workers because they were cheaper but because "these were the best candidates for the job" and said that in the future it will continue to employ British citizens at the refinery.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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