AROUND 150 workers went on strike at Coryton oil refinery yesterday.

The walk-out is in protest at the employment of foreign workers and follows the Total-owned Lindsey oil refinery strike which started last week.

Wildcat strikes have since spread across the country and have included workers walking out from Tilbury power station.

Craig Milsom, 57, from Wickford, one of the strikers at Coryton said: “This is a one-day demonstration against the Government about the immigration laws. What happened in Lincolnshire will affect a lot of the workforce, particularly now we’re in a recession.

“All we want is a level playing field. We feel the UK is not goverened by the UK anymore, it’s ruled by Europe.”

Mr Milsom said around 150 men had joined the action and they were all employed by contractors.

He insisted some workers remained at work “providing emergency cover” and about half the strikers were local men and the rest were “from all over the country”.

Legislation prevents unauthorised industrial action at the entrance to the refinery.

Yesterday’s strikers were forced to gather at the side of the roundabout opposite the company entrance.

The action ended shortly before midday.

Georgina Clark, public affairs advisor at Coryton, said: “I confirm a number of employees from some of our contractor companies are taking industrial action and have left the site for today only.

“Refinery operations are unaffected by this action and we continue to operate as normal.”

Claire Loveday, spokeswoman for RWE npower at Tilbury Power Station, said: “We understand that about 17 contract workers, who work on either construction or maintenance projects at Tilbury power station, have left site today in sympathy with workers at the Lindsey oil refinery, in north Lincolnshire.”

“No RWE npower staff are involved and Tilbury power station continues to operate normally.”