Grangemouth: Workers’ action and nationalisation needed

Posted on the Socialist Party Scotland website on 16th October 2013:

Grangemouth oil refinery and petrochemical plant has been shut down by owners Ineos for at least a week.

There are growing fears that Ineos and its billionaire chairman Jim Ratcliffe intend to shut the plant, unless they can get agreement on huge cuts to workers’ pay and conditions and tens of millions of pounds of public money.

Unite members recently voted by a massive 91% for strike action in protest over threats by Ineos to victimise its convener Stevie Deans.

Ratcliffe clearly wanted to remove the trade union leadership at the plant to make it easier to then drive through savage attacks on workers’ jobs and working conditions to boost the profits of the company.

The Unite leadership in Scotland mistakenly today announced that the 48-hour strike over the victimisation of Stevie Deans planned for Sunday was going to be called off, citing fears that the plant would close.

However, it’s clear that the kamikaze management at Ineos intend to try to butcher the workforce or blame the union for closing the plant regardless.

The shutdown of the plant is a scandal and the threat to both the plant and the jobs and working conditions must be met with urgent action by Unite.

Mass picketing and the occupation of the plant and the tactics needed for this must be urgently discussed.

It’s essential that Unite also applys massive political pressure to demand that the UK government nationalises the plant and that the Scottish government supports this demand.

Ineos has asked for £150 million of government money or it will shut the plant by 2017. Rather than succumb to this blackmail, Grangemouth and the 1,500 jobs at the plant must be brought into public ownership.