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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 June 2009

Total's fat fingers in every pie

THE CONSTRUCTION workers at Lindsey won a magnificent battle for the working class. They managed to turn back the cost-cutting plans of Total, the multinational energy giant rated as one of the world's six 'supermajor' oil companies. Total has its fat fingers in many pies.
Phil Whitehurst, a senior GMB union shop steward at Lindsey, spoke about the dispute to big crowds at last weekend's Glastonbury festival and linked up with a group campaigning against Total in Burma.

Total operates a huge natural gas pipeline from Burma to Thailand, despite the European Union imposing sanctions against Burma's military regime. Phil Whitehurst handed over a 500 cheque on behalf of the British trade union movement to the campaign.

Total is also one of 32 oil companies who are bidding to take over six oilfields and two gas fields in war-shattered Iraq, which still has one of the world's largest untapped oil reserves of 115 billion barrels.

Since 2003, US and British troops have been occupying Iraq, bringing death and bloodshed to the civilian population and to the soldiers. Now, Iraqi and foreign oil contract workers could face the prospect of violence on the streets and oilfields in an attempt to get their employers a profitable foothold in Iraq.

If their plans succeed, this would mainly benefit the oil monopolies, their executives and shareholders. These Western-based firms want to make a fortune from stealing Iraq's oil.

But the Lindsey dispute shows that the organised working class is potentially the strongest power on earth. The workers' movement should take confidence that, by fighting for policies based on workers' unity and socialist internationalism, the ruthless plans of Total and the other oil giants can be defeated. We can then put the idea of transforming society along socialist lines back on the political agenda again.

Roger Shrives

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In The Socialist 30 June 2009:

Militant action pays!


Youth fight for jobs

Decent jobs not poverty schemes!


Socialist Party editorial

Victories show the way forward for struggles

Total's fat fingers in every pie

"We came out with Lindsey and we'll go back with Lindsey"


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Related links:

Total:

triangleNHS SOS round-up

triangleThem & Us

triangleJustice for Yemen workers

triangleYemen: families left to starve by multinationals

trianglePoland: Mass movement stops total ban on abortion

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

GMB:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

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triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

Construction workers:

triangleFerrybridge workers protest against 'race to bottom'

Burma:

triangleBrutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

Oil:

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

Iraq:

triangle'From Militant to the Socialist Party' - new book now available

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