Ongoing unrest among British workers in the UK is affecting Portuguese workers in the country.
Portuguese and Italian workers employed in Lincolnshire by oil firm Total sparked a series of unofficial wildcat strikes by energy workers across the country with calls for ‘British jobs for British workers’ by unions.
The issue has forced the European Union to defend one of its founding principles of the free movement of workers across the member states.
The sight of foreign workers completing contracts that activists believe could be done by equally qualified British employees has been heightened by the economic crisis in the UK and increasing unemployment levels.
According to the national Portuguese television station RTP, Portuguese workers at the Lindsey oil refinery are now abandoning their work in the UK and returning to Portugal as a direct result of the strike action.
In the final three months of 2008 there were 1.1 million EU nationals working in the UK compared to only 290,000 British citizens employed in other EU countries.
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