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Posted on 19 June 2009 at 0:00 GMT

Lindsey Oil Refinery strike: 900 sacked, support grows

Yesterday, solidarity action spread in support of the Shaw workers (sub-contractor at Lindsey) who had been laid off.
Now Total, who run the Lindsey Oil Refinery, have gone on the offensive. Press reports claimed 900 workers had been sacked. Workers involved in the strike have told the Socialist Party that 650 have been sacked.
The strike has now escalated dramatically. Solidarity messages of support must be urgently sent to geminis@geminis.karoo.co.uk or texts sent to 07706 7 10041.
Please also try to get leading figures in Trade Unions to send them too.

Below is the text of a Socialist Party LOR Newsletter dated 18 June 2009

Socialist Party LOR Newsletter

Supported by Keith Gibson ex LOR strike cttee, Trevor Grewar Hull Amicus/Unite branch chair, John McEwan national stewards forum, Steve Jones LOR steward (all in personal capacities)

The Facts:- Last Weds 10th June, 51 Shaws workers were give "imminent redundancy notices" to take effect from Friday 12th.

THERE WAS NO CONSULTATION. On Monday 8th June, Blackett & Charlton (RBC) had taken on 61 recruits in almost identical numbers and trades to those being sacked by Shaws.

The Shaws workers were given NO OPPORTUNITY TO TRANSFER. Remember that RBC are only at LOR as a result of the 102 new jobs created by January's strike which was provoked by a third of Shaws contract being awarded to anti-union firm IREM.

On Thurs 11th, Shaws workers walked out of the gate, supported by scaffolders from S.G.B, electricians for B.K., and other trades from B.I.S.

O'Hares and RBC, and have all stayed out on strike. Jacobs' management, who's strings are being pulled by Total, have refused to negotiate unless there is a return to work.

But have stated that the 51 will still be sacked anyway. Faced with this ultimatum, a mass meeting of LOR workers yesterday (Weds 17th) voted unanimously to continue the strike until the 51 redundancies are withdrawn.

It is clear now that the LOR bosses are using this dispute (caused by their own mis-management and their reneging on agreements made in February) to seek revenge for their forced climbdown by the strike earlier this year.

Taken with the leaked ECIA advice to employers on subverting the official union strike ballot, the bosses have declared war against the trade unions, shop stewards and the NAECI agreement.

That is why we appeal for your support. Unity is strength. Together we will win. AGAIN.

YESTERDAY'S MASS MEETING (Weds 17th) VOTED TO:

WHICH SITES ARE SUPPORTING STRIKE ALREADY:

Fiddlers Ferry (since Monday)
Aberthaw (300 walked out yesterday)
Conoco (2-300 walked yesterday and joined LOR pickets)
Dragon, BOC Scunthorpe & Hartlepool Power Station

SITES BEING DIRECTLY APPEALED TO BY LOR PICKETS THIS MORNING:

Ferrybridge, Stanlow, BP Saltend, Eggborough, West Burton, Cottam, Ratcliffe, Staythorpe, Wilton and maybe more.

ECIA LEAKED DOCUMENT EXPOSES EMPLOYERS' PLAN TO SUBVERT UNION STRIKE BALLOT

From Press Release by a shop steward:

Secret documents leaked by a trade union show how firms are planning to fight planned industrial action at industrial sites across Britain.

The Engineering Construction Industry Association has drawn up a list of moves in which construction and engineering employers can take against members of Unite and GMB, who are preparing to strike over a 5.5 per cent pay claim.

The leaked documents quote the ECIA's employment relations manager, Simon Bailey, advising firms not to allow some mass meetings to take place.

"Don't give names and addresses of your workforce to full time officers of the unions and shop stewards.

Don't allow full time officer's access to your workforce, unless their intentions for the visit are made clear and they are not related to the ballot.

"Don't allow your shop stewards time off to organise the ballot or promote a vote in support of industrial action."

Instead, the association tells firms to stress "the depressed state of the industry and the economy in general."

"Industrial action could be harmful to the long term prospects of the UK engineering construction industry and its workforce.

It is therefore in the employers' interests not to act in a way which aids and abets the unions to run a successful ballot...

"The employers have nothing to hide or feel guilty about."

A shop steward, who led the demonstrations at the Lindsey Oil Refinery earlier this year, and is a key official in the current dispute, is calling for Mr Bailey to be fired.

"The employers are deliberately trying to undermine the ability of the unions to represent the workforce, which is frankly scandalous.

"This is a sick and cynical attempt to frighten a proud workforce into submission. It is further evidence of anti-union sentiment from the employer's organisation which represents firms, who have a history of anti-union activities.

"It seeks to undermine the wages and conditions of people who have in many cases devoted their lives to the industry, and whose families have suffered some of the worst aspects of the recession."

The shop steward says management intimidation is likely to motivate workers to take industrial action, rather than have the intended effect.

The ECIA document also says that Employers should: "maintain current conditions of work and only make significant contentious changes if there is a health and safety requirement to do so or the changes were consulted upon or agreed before the announcement about the ballot.

Aggravating your workforce with other matters will only raise tension at this time and make them more likely to support industrial action."

Obviously LOR bosses did not read their own association's advice!

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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.
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Related links:

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)

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

triangleTrade unions: myths of EU 'Remain' campaign

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

Strike:

triangle1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"

triangleThe Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2

trianglePlymouth students discuss rent strike

triangleRefuse collection workers strike

Refinery:

triangleFawley refinery canteen strikers tell their employer: "pay up"

triangleFawley strike defeats 'race to bottom' exploitation of migrant workers

triangleFawley refinery strike against 'race to bottom'

Oil:

triangleLibya: Civil war and chaos follow interventions by world and regional powers

triangleShell pays 0 corporation tax, and plans huge hike in fossil output

Lindsey:

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: Lessons of the 2009 Lindsey Refinery strike

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