One thousand striking workers at the Lindsey oil refinery have called for national walkouts at engineering construction sites across Britain after bosses refused to negotiate.
A mass meeting of the strikers, who first walked off the job in an unofficial strike against redundancies last week, issued the call after executives at the huge Total-owned refinery in Lincolnshire refused to meet their union reps on Tuesday.
Total bosses insisted that “as this action is illegal, we cannot enter into discussions with union officials until the workforce returns to work,” but GMB shop steward Phil Whitehouse stressed that the engineers and construction workers were determined to continue their stand.
Speaking to the Morning Star from the Lindsey site, Mr Whitehouse revealed that “Total managers have refused to attend talks mediated by ACAS at a hotel near the site.
“As a result, the workers intend to stay out and have called on workers at other sites to come out in support.”
Mr Whitehouse said that mass meetings were set to take place at engineering construction sites in Wales and across the north of England as the Morning Star went to press last night, while another meeting of the Lindsey workers was set to begin at 7am on Wednesday.
He said that workers were meeting to discuss their next moves at the Teesside oil refinery, the huge oil terminal at South Hook, near Milford Haven, and at the massive Dimlington gas terminal on Humberside.
Mr Whitehouse added that workers at the Fiddler’s Ferry power station site near Warrington had already downed tools.
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny demanded that Total management make an effort to resolve the workers’ concerns about some contractors making redundancies while others on the same site were taking on new staff.
He said that the union “was saddened by Total’s aggressive stance” in refusing to come to the negotiating table.
“GMB and ACAS are trying to resolve these difficulties, but the employers are seeking to provoke a reaction which we fear they may come to regret.
“The employers should stop acting like mill owners, effectively locking our members out, but threats and bullying are not the route to industrial peace,” he stressed.
From the Morning Star