Almost 650 workers constructing a new plant at the Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire have been sacked, following unofficial wildcat 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. Workers claim Total had offered an assurance that no jobs would be lost here while foreign workers were employed on site.
The Lindsey workers had been building a new plant next to the existing site, but withdrew their labour last week in protest at a sub-contractor axing 51 jobs while another employer on the site was hiring people.
Total, which owns the plant, said no such agreement was in place.
Late on Thursday it confirmed that its contractors had started dismissing hundreds of staff.
It was initially said that 900 workers had been sacked but Total later revised that figure to 647.
A group have gathered outside the main gates of the Lindsey refinery, waving placards accusing bosses of greed and urging them to "share out the work".
On Friday, workers at a number of sites walked out in support of those who have lost their jobs. British Workers are furious at the way that their just complaints about unfair foreign competition are being ignored. The beligerent attitude of Bosses with threats and sackings is the final straw for many.
- At the Ensus site at Wilton in Teesside, all 1,100 workers have walked out, according to a company spokesman
- About 300 workers are protesting outside Aberthaw power station in south Wales
- More than 100 contract maintenance staff have walked out at the Stanlow Oil Refinery in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
- Workers have downed tools at Ferrybridge power station in West Yorkshire. Scottish and Southern Electric say the plant is operating normally
Text messages are reportedly being sent to fellow workers around the UK to encourage them to take action too.
One of the sacked Lindsey workers told the Press Association: "We are asking for support from workers across the country which I am sure will be given. Total will soon realise they have unleashed a monster.
"It is disgraceful that this has happened without any consultation. It is also unlawful and it makes me feel sick."
In a statement, Total said the workers had been involved in "an unofficial, illegal walk out" that was "repudiated" by both Unite and the GMB union. Over the past few days, workers at other power stations have walked out in support.
Pat Harrington, the General Secretary of Solidarity said:-
"Total are acting like some 19th Century industrialists seeking to stifle workers with Tory anti-Union laws. The aims of the workers are legitimate and need to be addressed not repressed. I once again call for a consumer boycott of Total at the pumps till they change their anti-Union, anti-worker and anti-British policies. I expect Wildcat action to spread."