Sunday, 1 February 2009

More contradictions from the government

Currently, a number of wildcat strikes are planned or underway in the UK.

Last week, about 700 workers went on strike at Total's oil refinery at Killingholme and another 3,000 walked out in sympathy at other refineries and power stations across the country. The workers are protesting at the use of 400 Italian and Portuguese workers on a £200m construction project at the site, in north Lincolnshire - The BBC provides more details.

Of course, Gordon Brown has stepped in to give everyone his opinion on things. According to Sky News,

"he recognised people were 'worried' about jobs being taken by workers from other countries, but stressed that the UK was part of a 'single Europe'"

Can you see a contradiction here? The government's been using the 'international competitiveness' argument for a while, stating that Heathrow needs the new runway to compete with Schipol and Paris Charles de Gaulle. Even though this argument is based on dodgy economics, when considered in isolation it does seem a fairly reasonable one.

However, based on Brown's statement above, where does the UK stand? Are we agressively competing against the other countries in the EU or are we all in this together as part of the 'single Europe' he talks about?

The ironic twist to the story would be if BAA's owners, Grupo Ferrovial, decided to draft in their own Spanish workers to build its new runway. As a large multinational construction company, this is not beyond the realms of possibility....

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