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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
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 This threat was later denied and quickly rescinded.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.
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...
In The Socialist 17 June 2009:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party editorial
Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party review