From The Morning Star:
UNEMPLOYED construction workers turned out in force at the Grain Power Station in Kent on Wednesday to demand fair access to jobs as the row over the use of foreign labour reignited.
Around 70 protesters gathered at the station waving banners and placards stating: “Alstom give us a chance,” “Alstom stop excluding British workers” and “GMB says no to discrimination and calls for equal opportunities for workers to work.”
Alstom has been contracted by power privateer E.On to build a power station at Grain.
However, demonstrators said that skilled workers were being denied the chance to apply for work at the site.
They claimed that its Polish subcontractors Remak and ZRE were refusing to consider applications from British labourers for the estimated 450 jobs that will be available over the course of the project.
Unite union member Phil Willis, an unemployed steel erector, said: “We want a level playing field for all workers, not just British workers in Europe.
“The bosses are using the cheaper foreign labour against the engineering and construction workers, who work under the national agreements.
“People are here today because they believe they are being excluded from jobs on this site. Given the economic situation, why should we be excluded?
Mr Willis, a father of two who has been out of work for 14 months, said: “People feel let down. They feel they are being discriminated against.
“This hasn’t been going on recently, this has been brewing for the last five years.
“Over the last week and a half, we have seen the defiance and the commitment of the British engineering and construction workers on seeing what is happening to their industry.
“They feel that if it doesn’t stop, it will be the demise of the construction and engineering industry altogether and the national agreements.”
GMB organiser Brian Skipper explained that it was a “genuine demonstration” by unemployed people to get work.
“We want the companies to demonstrate to us that they have given us a commitment that they will consider UK workers and give us evidence that they are going to employ UK people,” he said.
Construction workers at the Staythorpe power station in Nottinghamshire also walked out on unofficial strike on Wednesday after being told that they faced disciplinary action if they joined a protest over foreign employees.