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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Du Bolkestein version british?

by Peter Avis

A British Version of Bolkestein?

Translated Thursday 19 February 2009, by Marjorie Cremont-Targar

Great Britain. Total is accused of importing cheap labour.

From our special correspondent in London.

Several refineries in Great Britain have been hit by a wave of strikes, following the very controversial decision to employ workers from the continent at Total’s Lindsey oil refinery, near Lincoln, in the east of the country.

The French company caused an outcry by signing a contract worth 200 million Euros with the Italian company, IREM, to finance new construction work. IREM however, decided not to use local labour and brought in three hundred Italian and Portuguese workers.

Although both Total and IREM are defending their rights to employ less costly immigrant workers, explaining that there are not enough qualified British workers to do the work.

This debate, coming at a time of economical crisis and against a backdrop of constantly rising unemployment, is proving to be an embarrassment for the Government, who has placed all its hopes in the official mediators, ACAS. They will decide whether or not the immigrant workforce should be employed at a dirt cheap price.

Gordon Brown has, in his own way, fueled the controversy even further, with his openly populist slogan before becoming Prime Minister of “British jobs for British workers."

Not only has the Minister for Trade, Mandelson, done nothing in the slightest to calm things down, he came up with the suggestion that the discontented British workers should leave the country to find work on the continent.

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