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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 June 2009

Lindsey workers fight the bosses' redundancy scam

Updated 19th June 2009 with link to latest posting
Keith Gibson at Socialist Party public meeting on lessons of the Lindsey oil refinery strike with, photo Paul Mattsson

Keith Gibson at Socialist Party public meeting on lessons of the Lindsey oil refinery strike with, photo Paul Mattsson

ON TUESDAY 9 June, Shaw UK issued 'at risk of redundancy' notices to 81 construction workers on the Lindsey oil refinery expansion project.

Keith Gibson, GMB, Shaws

900 sacked from LOR: Latest from Lindsey and Socialist Party newsletter 18 June here


The following day 'imminent' redundancy notices were issued to 51 of this same group of workers. The group of 51 were informed that they were to be made redundant by the Friday of that same week and would receive one week's pay in lieu of notice. No proper consultation had taken place with the unions or the individual workers concerned.

By 10 June it became apparent that another sub-contracting company, RBC, had employed an extra 60 workers at Lindsey on 8 June. Alarm bells started to ring! While 51 Shaw's workers were facing redundancy/unemployment, RBC had been recruiting almost the same numbers and trades.

It is custom and practice on 'blue book' sites like Lindsey that workers facing redundancy would be given notice of jobs available with other subcontracting firms. Shaw's workers who had led the Lindsey strikes in January were not given this opportunity. The word 'victimisation' instantly sprung to mind.

A mass meeting of Shaw's workforce was called on 10 June to discuss these developments. It was agreed that the lads would bunk up in the cabins for the day while discussions between the stewards and Shaw's management were ongoing. No progress was made.

At a meeting on Thursday morning Shaw's workforce decided to walk off the job in protest. The scaffolders from SGB, electricians for BK, other trades from BIS O'Hare and RBC joined the walkout.

The scaffolders were threatened with the sack if they joined the walkout. This threat was later denied and quickly rescinded.

During the course of the negotiations Shaw's management read out a statement to the stewards declaring that if there was no return to work on Monday, Shaw as a company would be thrown off the project. In other words the most militant section of workers on Lindsey would be locked out.

On Friday the Lindsey Oil Refinery (LOR) workers protested in the car park whilst the stewards again attempted to negotiate but to no avail. On Monday morning the strikers picketed the gates of the site while Shaw's management stood pondering their lockout.

Ultimatum

After further negotiations between the stewards and Jacobs, the company that employs subcontractor firms, the management stated that if there was not a return to work there would be no more discussion on the redundancy situation. Faced with this ultimatum, the mass meeting voted to continue the strike and appeal for support from other sites.

On 16 June, Unite and GMB full time officials will be meeting with LOR strikers and relaying their demands to management. The demands are: to withdraw all redundancies, stop all overtime and share out the work remaining on the HDS3 Project.

As I write, Fiddlers Ferry construction workers have come out in support of Lindsey strikers. Watch this space...

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In The Socialist 17 June 2009:

Tories or New Labour - it's cuts, cuts, cuts!

A rat on Labour's sinking ship

Prepare for class war!

News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Iran - mass protests erupt

Only working class action can end war threat in Korean peninsula


Socialist Party editorial

Recent industrial disputes bring important lessons for the future


Postal workers

Standing up to bullying mail bosses

CWU conference: Fighting for jobs and working conditions


Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers

Lindsey workers fight the bosses' redundancy scam


Socialist Party workplace news

Victory at Linamar! Rob Williams reinstated

National Shop Stewards Network conference

Tube workers on strike

Glasgow cleaners score success


Anti-racism

Defeat the BNP: Build a socialist alternative

Protests at BNP


Socialist Party review

Billy Bragg's Miners' Strike Tour


 

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Related links:

Lindsey:

triangleTen years since Lindsey strike: when militant action stopped the 'race to the bottom'

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

Lindsey Oil Refinery:

triangleHull: Construction workers' walkout forces employer to back down

triangleSocialist Party member Janet Gibson advertising NSSN conference at a protest of steel construction workers outside a Siemans factory in Lincoln (click for report)

triangleTrade unions: myths of EU 'Remain' campaign

triangleConstruction workers stop work to protest at the undermining of jobs and pay

Construction workers:

triangleSparks continue protests against deskilling

triangleConstruction electricians protesting against de-skilling, outside Balfour Beatty, Canary Wharf, London, on 10.3.21. Photo by Isai Priya

GMB:

triangleSandwell Leisure workers: No to 'fire and rehire'

triangleFight back against British Gas bosses' 'fire and rehire' offensive

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