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From: The Socialist issue 586, 30 June 2009: Militant action pays!

Search site for keywords: Total - Lindsey - GMB - Construction workers - Burma - Oil - Iraq

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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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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