Strikers to take protest to Paris

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The Independent Online

Striking contract workers are to stage a demonstration outside the Paris headquarters of energy giant Total in protest at the sacking of hundreds of oil terminal staff, it was revealed today.

The move by the GMB union came ahead of the resumption of talks to resolve the bitter row over jobs at the Lindsey oil refinery in North Lincolnshire, which has sparked wildcat strikes across Britain.

Fresh walkouts were held today, with the nuclear site at Sellafield in Cumbria again hit with an estimated 200 contract staff taking unofficial action.

Activists said workers at a number of power stations and oil and gas terminals were continuing to withdraw their labour today.

A text message sent by activists said: "All sites still out across the country. With talks planned for today, brothers are asked to stay strong and stay out. More support is needed."

The GMB revealed it is planning to take two coach-loads of Lindsey workers to Paris next week to stage a protest outside the head office of Total, which owns the North Lincolnshire refinery.

Negotiations over the sacking of almost 650 workers at the refinery were adjourned on Tuesday after five hours, with some progress being made.

But sources said a number of "significant barriers" remained before the dispute, involving unions, contractors and the refinery's owner Total, could be resolved.

"Some progress has been made but there are a number of hurdles to overcome," said one source close to the talks.

Unions are demanding the reinstatement of the sacked workers and guarantees of no victimisation of activists involved in sympathy strikes, as well as jobs for 51 employees laid off at Lindsey earlier this month.