Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/567/6936
Why the bosses don't want an organised workforce
Articles in the press on 16 February said that the ACAS "investigation" into the Lindsey strike shows that the Italian workforce brought in to the site by IREM were being paid the same wages as the existing Shaw workforce.
But interviews with some of those workers who returned home have revealed that they were being paid €1,000 a month less than the UK workers.
But as one employer says in The Independent: "This is not about pay, it is about productivity".
This is management-speak for the existing workers having trade union-organised conditions including proper breaks and proper union representation. There are many other conditions that can only exist if the workers on the site are in a trade union and therefore part of the NAECI national agreement that covers working conditions as well as pay.
The Financial Times on 7 February let the cat out of the bag: "Companies working in the sector state privately that the attraction of using foreign rather than British workers is that they are much less likely to stage illegal strikes. There is an industry tradition of staging 'sympathy stoppages' on the death of a worker's relative or a retired worker - a site in Southampton suffered a limited walkout for this reason only last month.
"British workers are also seen as being prone to walk out over problems with site facilities, such as hot-water boiler breakdowns. Tea breaks - protected in an industry-wide agreement with the unions - are another 'huge bone of contention' and had led to walkouts, one insider states.
"The engineering construction sector, at the heart of last week's dispute at the Lindsey oil refinery, lost more than 22,400 days to unofficial action in the year to November. This equates to almost one day for every one of the roughly 25,000 blue-collar workers employed - about 32 times worse than the average for the UK workforce as a whole for the same period."
In The Socialist 18 February 2009:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis