Friday 19 June 2009

Two Stories for our Time

Nearly 900 workers constructing a new plant at the Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire have been sacked, following unofficial strike action.

About 1,200 contract workers walked out last week in a dispute over 51 redundancies. They claim an agreement not to axe any jobs had been broken.

The agricultural workers from Romania and Bulgaria will be housed in 41 caravans on a huge site which will boast “college campus-style” ­recreation.

They will also enjoy free bus trips to nearby towns and free bicycle hire to get to shops and pubs, all provided by the vegetable farm at Wrangle, near Boston, Lincolnshire.

The area is already home to up to 12,000 migrant farm labourers, mostly from Portugal and Poland, while local unemployment is at a 12-year high.

Earlier this week more than 600 people besieged a shop in Boston which was offering 25 jobs.

Resident Amanda Thomas said: “I am not against foreign workers coming over here, but just how many more can the town take? We are bursting at the seams.

“I am getting to the stage where I don’t like going into town because I never hear anyone speaking English. It’s very intimidating.”

Jobless Andy Pearson, 46, said: “Why do we need these foreign workers? I know in the past a lot of people turned their noses up at these sort of jobs. It’s hard work and not very well paid, that’s why all the farmers started getting foreigners in. But times have changed. If they advertised these jobs locally they’d get some takers.”

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