Global Processing

British workers recover jobs after mass protests

June 29, 2009
Hundreds of laid-off U.K. workers got their jobs back this week after organizing mass protests at energy plants across the country, coordinated through text messages and social-networking Web sites, according to the Wallstreet Journal. The contractor companies at Total SA''s 200,000-barrels-a-day Lindsey oil refinery met nearly all the striking workers'' demands, which had become a rallying cry of sympathy strikes across the U.K.''s engineering-construction industry. More than eight-percent of the industry''s work force walked out, although the protests didn''t have an impact on production. The strikes bypassed official trade-union channels as they weren''t called after a vote by members and didn''t go through the U.K.''s legal requirements for industrial action. Employers agreed to reinstate the entire 647-strong work force at Lindsey and a full return to work on a £200 million ($331 million) construction project to build a refinery unit, according to a joint statement last week. The speed and scale of the wildcat strikes, caught energy companies by surprise, with protests organized by assembling large groups of people at specific sites through mass text messages.