Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/785/17632

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 October 2013

Grangemouth: a fight we can't afford to lose

Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI)

Outrageously Grangemouth oil refinery and petrochemical plant workers have been told to sign up to a draconian package of cuts to their terms and conditions, or the company, Ineos, will refuse to restart the plant.

These include a wage freeze, no bonuses until the end of 2016 and the tearing up of the final salary pension scheme.

Hundreds of union members took part in a Unite rally on 20 October, showing the determination of workers not to accept the bullying tactics of Ineos and its billionaire owner Jim Ratcliffe.

They had support from other construction workers, public sector workers and local people.

It is vital that, while supporting the call for genuine negotiations, Unite stands firm. There should be no concessions to the company's slash and burn agenda on pay and conditions and the idea of an open-ended no-strike agreement must be rejected.

Many workers were angry that Scottish National Party (SNP) First Minister Alex Salmond has called on the union to agree to a "no strike policy, without strings".

Ineos also wants to attack union rights at the site - getting rid of full-time union representation. The threat to remove shop steward Steven Deans is still not resolved. Workers voted by 81% in favour of strike action over his victimisation.

Stevie, a Unite member, works as a fitter. He told the Socialist: "Ineos are trying to drive the union out.

"They are threatening to move union people to different parts of the site, in an effort to split up and isolate them."

Calum has just finished a four year apprenticeship at Grangemouth: "We don't have any choice, we have to fight this blackmail or there'll be nothing left."

"The union has been encouraging workers to hand their blue forms (new contracts) unsigned, back to the union office, not the management.

"Hundreds of us have done that," said Derek who has been working for nine years at Grangemouth.

Ineos has been indulging in a black propaganda exercise that says the company is losing money, hand over fist.

They are demanding public money from the Scottish and UK governments. Yet as Unite's Scottish regional secretary Pat Rafferty correctly pointed out at the rally: "Sales have increased by more than 50% in the last year, gross profits are up by 20% and their operating profit is up by a whopping 56%. Ineos made profits of £2 billion last year alone."

Ineos is registered in Switzerland, avoiding paying corporation tax in the UK and buries money in tax havens across the world.

The Socialist Party Scotland leaflet demanded that Ineos' books be opened up to trade union inspection.

Unite assistant general secretary, Tony Burke, brought support from Unite members across the UK and from trade unions internationally, including Norway, USA, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, France and Italy.

Ratcliffe said that unless workers accept the draconian attacks on their terms and conditions the plant will not re-open.

They have also threatened to sack the 1,400 workers within 45 days and re-hire workers on worse contracts.

This is a fight that the Unite members at Grangemouth and the entire trade union movement cannot afford to lose.

If the plant is not restarted it will be clear that this is a lockout by the company of its workforce.

There will be an urgent need to discuss the occupation of part of the Grangemouth site, mass demonstrations and protests.

The Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) should ensure the organisation of a national demonstration in the next week or two demanding the plant re-open, with no cuts to the pay and pensions of the workers.

An urgent shop stewards' conference of private and public sector trade unions should be convened to organise and plan a solidarity campaign.

A key demand will be for the nationalisation of Grangemouth by the Scottish and UK governments, to take the plant out of the hands of the profiteering Ineos and ensure that Grangemouth and the jobs and terms and conditions of the workers are protected and invested in.

In his speech STUC general secretary, Grahame Smith compared the actions taken to nationalise RBS and other banks and raised the need for similar action if Ineos management did not back down. This shows that the issue of public ownership is being discussed.

Nationalisation should be carried out democratically. The plant should be run under workers' control, by representatives of the workforce, the wider trade union movement and the Scottish government, but with a majority worker involvement.

Unless Ineos bosses back down, this dispute could explode into a struggle like the UCS struggle in the 1970s.

The organised strength of the entire labour and trade union movement needs to be mobilised to ensure the union-busting, profiteering tactics of Ineos and its billionaire majority owner are defeated.

As we go to press we know that half the permanent workforce has rejected the new contracts.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 23 October 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

It's a robbery not a 'recovery'

Build a no-cuts political alternative

Hypocritical Hunt blames families for care scandal

Government policies - 'deeply divisive'

Big business lines its pockets from nuclear power

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Energy for the millions ...not the millionaires


International socialist news and analysis

France: Deep malaise marks 'la rentrée'

Tunisia: Left-wing rapper, Klay BBJ, acquitted on appeal


Socialist Party workplace news

Overwhelming support for teachers' strike in the south and north

Postal workers go into battle

Grangemouth: a fight we can't afford to lose

PCS strike in DWP and DEFRA Shared Services

Probation officers vote for strike action

What role can trade unions play in fighting welfare attacks?

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaign victory for rebel councillors as local pool to be re-opened

We need action against zero-hour contracts

TUSC candidates stand up against austerity

200 say 'Tequila's got to go!'

Swansea socialists oppose National Front

Turn anger into action: join the socialists


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 October 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Grangemouth:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleIndustrial struggle

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleUnite sector conferences: Union delegates seek strategy for resistance

triangleFight the Tory witch-hunt against Unite

Union:

triangleSupport the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangleSix months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

triangleStrikers rally in Liverpool

Unite:

triangleArriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangleUnite day of action against blacklisting

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

Trade union:

triangleObituary: Derek Robinson, car workers' leader, 1927-2017

triangleNew play celebrates Grunwick strike

Scotland:

triangleWhat does the left victory in Scottish Labour mean?

Socialist Party Scotland:

triangleWhere is Scotland going?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/12/17

Haringey

Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

16/12/17

North West

Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2