Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/585/7467

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 June 2009

Lindsey refinery dispute: Workers show their strength

Update: All the workers' demands have now been met.

Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers strike, photo Sean Figg

Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers strike, photo Sean Figg

In a symbolic act of defiance, sacked construction workers burned their dismissal letters outside Lindsey Oil Refinery (LOR) on Monday 22 June. This sent a clear message to the bosses of Total (LOR owners) that mass sackings, in effect a lock-out, will not intimidate hundreds of strikers back to work. As GMB steward Phil Whitehurst said: "Let them show us how many want to go back in there crawling on their bellies with their begging bowls."

Keith Gibson, LOR strike committee
Lindsey Oil Refinery solidarity strikes: Keith Gibson addresses strikers, photo Jim Reeves

Lindsey Oil Refinery solidarity strikes: Keith Gibson addresses strikers, photo Jim Reeves

Hundreds of Lindsey contract workers walked out on unofficial and 'illegal' strike action on Thursday 11 June to stop 51 redundancies being imposed without consultation or the opportunity to transfer to another contractor. Since then, Total have refused to negotiate unless there is a return to work, yet have insisted that the 51 redundancies would go ahead anyway.

Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers strike, photo Sean Figg

Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers strike, photo Sean Figg

Faced with this ultimatum, a mass meeting on 16 June voted to appeal for solidarity action from engineering construction workers across the country. Since Total's 'mass dismissal by press release' of 647 strikers, walkouts have spread like wildfire, affecting over 20 power station and petrochemical sites.

Total have declared war on trade unionism and the NAECI national agreement. This dispute is no longer just about 51 sacked workers, it's about the future of our industry. The employers want to break the solidarity of construction workers and smash effective trade unionism so that they can get rid of the national agreement, to bring in cheap labour and drive down wages to boost their profits.

Lindsey Oil Refinery solidarity strikes: Keith Gibson addresses protest, photo Jim Reeves

Lindsey Oil Refinery solidarity strikes: Keith Gibson addresses protest, photo Jim Reeves

We won't let them. We must stand united together to defeat these greedy bosses. They say they won't talk unless we return to work - that's what they said in February, but we forced them to. They say we should have an official ballot - but the ECIA (employers' association) is organising to make the ballot illegal! They say we could apply for our jobs back - we won't let them pick and choose. As steward Phil Whitehurst said: "We all came out together, and we'll all go back together."

Unite steward Kenny Ward asked: "Would Total do the same in France? Absolutely not, because there would be tankers turned over on their sides... because the French (workers) wouldn't put up with it... But our government will. Our government will be subservient to companies like this. But we won't!"

We need to be more like the French workers. We are making a stand against unemployment and cheap labour, against the anti-trade union laws and against big corporations like Total trying to make us pay for their capitalist economic crisis. Support us in this fight.

Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers strike, photo Sean Figg

Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers strike, photo Sean Figg


Update on 23 June:

Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers strike, photo Sean Figg

Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers strike, photo Sean Figg

Lindsey workers got a huge boost today as around 2,000 strikers and supporters marched and rallied outside Total's oil refinery. The pressure of spreading unofficial action (Sellafield, Longannet power station and Coryton oil refinery have joined over 20 sites taking action) has forced both the GMB and Unite unions to now officially support the dismissed 647 workers.

Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers strike, photo Sean Figg

Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers strike, photo Sean Figg

Trade union flags decorated the march, giving a real feel of trade union power. At the rally GMB general secretary Paul Kenny pledged: "A solution we will have. A sell-out we won't. And there will be no solution without all the dismissed workers being reinstated and the 51 sackings being rescinded." Then he pledged 100,000 for a hardship fund.

Total's mass dismissals have backfired on them. They have clearly been rocked by the spreading strikes and support for the Lindsey workers. Having insisted that there would be no negotiations until a return to work, they are now "actively encouraging" the contractors to seek talks. Workers are hopeful of a breakthrough but prepared for the long haul if that's what it takes.

Alistair Tice

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


In The Socialist 23 June 2009:

Lindsey refinery dispute: Workers show their strength

Protests at Fiddlers Ferry

New pamphlet: Lindsey, Visteon, Linamar - lessons from the disputes of Spring 2009


Youth fight for jobs

No to mass youth unemployment


Socialist Party editorial

Economy - 'Green shoots' are without real roots


Socialist Party news and analysis

Iraq war inquiry

The guns fall silent - but no peace for Tamils

Fight for a Scottish parliament with full powers

Racists in Northern Ireland threaten socialist for defending Romanian community

'Sponsors' deserting academy schools

Another RBS rip-off payout


Unison conference

Unison conference: We needed a council of war - we got a council of doom


Revolution in Iran

Where now for the Iranian revolution?


Socialist Party statement

Reply to SWP open letter: Workers' party must be built


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 June 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Lindsey:

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: Lessons of the 2009 Lindsey Refinery strike

triangleSpied on by the state and bosses

triangleWorkers' Memorial Day: strike for safety

triangleOil Refinery workers protest

triangleConstruction workers strike to defend agreements

Refinery:

triangleFawley refinery canteen strikers tell their employer: "pay up"

triangleFawley strike defeats 'race to bottom' exploitation of migrant workers

triangleFawley refinery strike against 'race to bottom'

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Total:

triangleNHS SOS round-up

triangleThem & Us

triangleJustice for Yemen workers

LOR:

triangleSaltend dispute: lessons for future struggles

Oil:

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

Lindsey Oil Refinery:

triangleTrade unions: myths of EU 'Remain' campaign

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

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