A group of around 50 protesters gathered outside Siemens on Waterside South in Lincoln this morning to demand that construction jobs for a new power station are awarded to local contractors.
The industrial manufacturing and electronics company has begun initial work on a new gas power station in Keadby near Scunthorpe which could provide electricity to thousands of homes.
It’s hoped the new station, named Keadby 2, will help the country move away from coal towards renewable energy and will be the most energy efficient station of its kind in the UK.
The contracts for the main construction phase of the project are yet to be awarded and the tendering process is expected to be completed by September.
Representatives from the GMB Union and Unite Union said they were opposed to the outsourcing of contracts to EU contractors and made the case for local job retention.
Keith Gibson from the GMB union said: “This is an initiative put forward by GMB and Unite to try and make Siemens aware that the local workforce want to have the same chance of working at Keadby power station as other workers in Europe and around the country.
“There’s a whole pool of labour to be used. We’re not saying we’re against EU labour. We’re saying that we’re against European contractors who use their workforce to undermine the terms and the conditions of our agreements.
“We want Siemens to soak up the labour of the local area.”
Siemens, Lincoln’s biggest employer, has responded to the protests with assurances that 80% of the jobs connected to the project have so far gone to UK companies and that they have invested heavily in Lincolnshire.
The company said talks are ongoing with unions and expects that some of the remaining construction and mechanical contracts will go to UK companies. It will hold a talk with unions at Keadby in July, as well as job fair events in the Scunthorpe area.
Siemens’ Managing Director of Power Generation Wesley Tivnen told The Lincolnite: “In the next couple of months we will be finalising procurement for those jobs. We want to reasure local workers that Siemens fully committed to maximising opportunities for local workers.
“We haven’t yet let any of the contracts which the concerns are being raised over and the procurement process is in the fairly early stages. We will be encouraging contractors to take advantage of the skilled workers in the local area.
“We expect to complete procurement in mid September with the work starting in December or January next year.
“Between then, we’re working with job centre and putting on jobs fair of our own to support local workers registering interest and helping with CVs to give them best chance.
“There will be a number of contracts, we can’t guarantee UK contractors will secure all of those. Some of them will, but there will be a number of job opportunities for UK workers committed to doing everything we can.”