Portuguese targeted by racism
by André Pereira
Approximately 30 Portuguese citizens are leaving their workplaces at the Lindsey refinery, which is owned by petrol company Total, due to the xenophobic protests from workers in Northeast England that went on a strike against the hiring of foreign labourers. As far as Correio da Manhã was able to establish, eleven of those Portuguese workers have already returned to Portugal, and another eleven are scheduled to arrive today. The rest will remain in Immingham, near Grimsby, waiting for the situation to be solved.
Contacted by Correio da Manhã, the Portuguese workers fear that the situation may become unsustainable, with the ongoing protests from the English. "Since we arrived, on the 18th of January, the English have been making gestures for us to go away, to return to our country. They tell us that the work posts are for English labourers and not for foreigners", the same worker reported, adding that "more Portuguese workers were supposed to arrive".
The situation started three days ago, when hundreds of English workers from the Lindsey refinery started a strike against the foreign labourers that had been hired by IREM company. Among the strikers, the slogan is "British jobs for British workers", a phrase by prime minister Gordon Brown. Yesterday, the movement spread throughout the whole of Great Britain, with xenophobic protests in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Derek Simpson, the secretary general of UNITE union, has already appealed for Gordon Brown to intervene, saying that "the situation is a powder barrel waiting to explode".
Portuguese Embassy has received no complaints
Contacted by Correio da Manhã, a source at the Secretary of State for the Portuguese Communities asserted that the Portuguese Embassy in London had received no complaint from the approximately 30 Portuguese workers at Lindsey refinery, in Immingham, in Northeastern England. "We have no knowledge that the Portuguese Embassy received any request for assistance from any Portuguese citizen in Grimsby", it said, guaranteeing that the situation is being followed with special attention.
400 thousand in the United Kingdom - The Portuguese community in the United Kingdom is above 400 thousand, according to numbers that were divulged by the Portuguese Embassy in London.
50 thousand emigrated - In 2006, approximately 50 thousand nationals left Portugal for the other countries of the European Union, according to numbers from the EU statistics cabinet. Twenty thousand emigrated to Angola, Switzerland, Andorra and the United States, other important destinies.
source: Correio da Manhã, 31.01.2009