can the oil refinery strikers beat the industry?

An article by Gregor Gall on The Guardian site.

Click here to read Gregor’s analysis of January’s strike wave, which appeared in issue 3 of The Commune, and here to read his recent debate with Chris Kane on the current state of industrial struggle.

refineryworkers

These are days of defiance in the engineering construction industry. The employers won’t give in and neither will the striking workers, even though the ante has been continually upped in the last week.

Total, on behalf of its contractors, refused to engage in any talks to settle the dispute while the unofficial strike at the Lindsey oil refinery continues. Last Friday, it spurned the use of the state conciliation service, Acas. It has also robustly supported its two contractors, IREM and Jacobs, who sacked their strikers (647 in all of them) and has made no play of its other seven on-site contractors who have not sacked their 500-odd strikers. For Total, this is a game of hard hardball. Continue reading “can the oil refinery strikers beat the industry?”

Advertisements

again on ‘revive flying pickets and spread the actions’

Chris Kane replies to Gregor Gall’s critique of his article in issue 5 of The Commune.

Gregor’s response to my article is a welcome contribution to the debate on how we respond to the recession on the industrial front. I feel however Gregor misses an old point Marx made when developing his own philosophy of revolution – that the ‘philosophers have interpreted the world, in various ways. The point however is to change it’. In that sense my article was not only an assessment of the current situation but an argument of what should be done to change it. Continue reading “again on ‘revive flying pickets and spread the actions’”

report on oil refinery strikes meeting

by David Broder

On the evening of 13th February the Socialist Party and Respect Renewal held a joint meeting in London on the recent wildcat strikes by construction workers across Britain. Apparently the only significant meeting on the strikes taking place in the capital, the meeting was led off by Lindsey Oil Refinery strike committee member Keith Gibson (SP) and the left candidate for general secretary of the Amicus section of Unite, Jerry Hicks (RR). The meeting was a mix of interesting and informed commentary and sectarian jibes.

p13-02-09_1915

Speaking to a sixty-strong audience, Keith Gibson gave an interesting talk on the background to the dispute and how workers had argued that the strike was not a national or race issue, but one of class. The employer had sought to divide the workforce by keeping the Italian migrant workers on barges away from their local counterparts, and the media had played up the significance of nationalist elements, but he had been able to appeal to internationalist sentiment. When some people went to intimidate the Italian workers in the barges, strikers had broken up their demonstrations, while the BNP were chased off picket lines upon their arrival. Continue reading “report on oil refinery strikes meeting”

hundreds of polish workers join wildcat strikes

600 workers, including hundreds of Polish workers, have walked out from Langage Power Station near Plymouth in solidarity with the wildcat actions sweeping across Britain.

When five hundred site staff had failed to arrive by 10am, the small minority of other foreign labourers (themselves also mostly Polish) who had been bussed in were sent home by management, deciding it was unsafe for them to work by themselves.

Jerry Pickford, regional officer for Unite South West,  said workers had walked out in “general sympathy with what’s happening in the construction industry… all the Polish workers have walked out as well, because this is not an issue against foreign workers.

“This is an issue against foreign employers using foreign workers to stop British workers getting jobs. Once they do that they will try and undermine the terms and conditions of employment in this country.”

It would be illegal for the union to support the strike or even hold a ballot, but workers are taking action off their own backs. Today strike action also spread to the Sellafield nuclear plant, while 400 contractors at Scottish Power’s Longannet power station in Fife (along with 80 workers at an ExxonMobil plant there) and 130 at the Cockenzie Power Station extended their action until Friday.