Oil refinery strikes

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raw
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Feb 3 2009 15:07

From the "British Jobs for British Workers" FACEBOOK group

"On the way to work this morning, I read something which nearly made me fall off my chair. IREM the contractor at the heart of this scandals employs 150 British workers on an oil rig just off the coast off Italy in Ravenna. As the CEO rightly pointed out "No one seems to mention this"! Anyone for an "Italian jobs for Italian workers" facebook group?"

BTW that group is just filled with hundreds of BNP members/supporters posting some really reactionary shit. Though it has over 33,000 members now (the facebook group) it is a good place to discuss and make contacts with progressives across the country.

raw
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Feb 3 2009 15:12

Seems like the above was a quote from the guardian:

Quote:
"The view from the barge

A construction director for the Sicilian firm which beat British companies to win an €18m (£16m) contract at Lindsey refinery in Lincolnshire said it wanted to "work with the British as brothers".

Claudio Scarano said Irem had already hired 22 British workers, while the firm's 80 Italian workers living on a barge in Grimsby docks were trying to make the most of their time in the UK and had rented coaches to see the sights in York and Lincoln. "Some of the guys also went out to a pub in Grimsby," said Scarano.

A meeting with unions tomorrow could decide whether they stay blocked by strikers on the barge, with 20 Portuguese co-workers and their Italian cook for company. "We understand the situation here, and we want to work with the British as brothers," said Scarano. At Irem HQ in Sicily, executive Giovanni Musso claimed it had agreed with unions to pay wages equal to British counterparts and agreed with rules governing tea breaks. Scarano added : "No one has mentioned that on a rig where we're doing a job off Ravenna there are 150 British workers."

Even so, the Italians at Lindsey are not taking chances, said Scarano, who is shuttling between Britain and Italy to try to resolve the impasse; a police escort is on hand, while two Italians who made rude gestures at British photographers were sent back by the management, even after colleagues said they had been provoked.

"The big problem is boredom," said employee Daniele Gilibisco, 34, who added with a smile: "If they force us to go home, we'll make them give us back England manager Fabio Capello."

baboon
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Feb 3 2009 16:23

Six hundred power station workers, including two hundred Poles, went on wildcat this morning at Langage power station, Plymouth. Other wildcats took place at refineries, building sites and power stations all over the country (while some workers went back).
Pickford, Unite regional organiser for Plymouth, said that this strike was against foreign workers - that doesn't quite explain a couple of hundred Poles joining it. More circumspect, was the GMB official at Lindsey, who reportedly addressing a meeting said: "This is not a race issue, but a class issue".

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Django
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Feb 3 2009 16:25

Thats a really interesting development - do you have links?

Edit:

Quote:
Virtually all work on the site ground to a halt when more than 500 workers failed to trun up at 10am today.

A small group of foerign workers, mainly Polish, who had been bussed into the site were taken home by coach just before 11m when bosses decided it was unsafe for them to work with so little manpower available.
Click here!

Mr Pickford said workers had walked out in “general sympathy with what’s happening in the construction industry,” where British workers were being excluded from applying for jobs by foreign subcontractors.

He said: “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.”

http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/news/600-workers-strike-Langage-Power-Station/article-666037-detail/article.html

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Steven.
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Feb 3 2009 19:22

I think things like those 150 British workers are important.

Like Capricorn says, it seems difficult to get our internationalist ideas across when nationalist solutions seem much easier: just let local companies get these contracts.

capricorn wrote:
I don't think anyone has made the point yet that this whole episode is a sign of just how degrading the wages system is for us workers. To live we must have money and to get "good money" (relatively speaking) we need to find an employer. Which puts us in competition with our fellow workers and makes us see them as rivals for the jobs employers have to offer. It's all very well saying that workers shouldn't do this, but it's true : we are all rivals in the jobs market. The conclusion to be drawn of course is that we should unite to get rid of the wages system. That might sound a bit abstract but it's literally true. What else can we say to the workers concerned : that they shouldn't ask for jobs to be reserved for them? No doubt they shouldn't, but they will and are, whether through the unions or not (probably more so if not).

However, these "simple solutions" are actually bullshit - internationalist arguments are the only ones which can actually benefit the workers. If the government did stop taking action to bar foreign workers in other countries would just follow suit.

Right now there are an estimated 1.5 million British workers working elsewhere in the EU. If these all got sent back here then they would need jobs as well and everyone would just be right back where they started (minus freedom of movement)

raw
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Feb 3 2009 21:17

Article from an Italian Source as posted on rome indymedia.

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Feb 3 2009 23:38

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1184614595?bctid=9823457001

Video of the BNP getting booted off the picket lines by workers at LOR.

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juozokas
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Feb 3 2009 23:54

I got excited then but didn't see any booing

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Feb 4 2009 10:31

I noticed on the news last night that Immingham (I think) workers had put up a written banner saying 'Italian workers join our strike for trade union rights, jobs and conditions' (or words to that effect), in English and Italian. It seems to me that there has been a lot of discussion among the workers about the 'British jobs' slogan, judging from things like that and what's being said on the forums

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Feb 4 2009 10:44

The Guardian is saying that LOR workers were carrying "workers of the world unite" placards too. So it does seem that very real debates are happening and that the views of the strikers are developing in line with events (hostility to BNP oppurtunism, Polish workers joining the strike, etc):

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Other demonstrators held up cardboard signs reading "Workers of the world unite" and claiming that foreign workers at other sites were joining the strike in solidarity.
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Joseph Kay
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Feb 4 2009 11:10

ACAS deal from unions/management rejected by mass meeting at Lindsey (BBC):

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At a mass meeting on site on Wednesday, protesters were told that about 60 of the 200 jobs would be made available to British workers - 40 skilled and 20 unskilled. They believed the figure was too low, and have also demanded proof that the foreign workers being brought in are on the same pay and terms and conditions as their British counterparts.

the dispute, at least at Lindsey does seem to have moved away from the 'British jobs...' line pushed by the unions/media early on and towards internationalism.

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Feb 4 2009 13:24
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the dispute, at least at Lindsey does seem to have moved away from the 'British jobs...' line pushed by the unions/media early on and towards internationalism.

I agree and this is a testament to the confusions sown by the unions and media machine, as various posters have pointed out above. It just feels desperately important to be 'there' talking with the workers...!

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Feb 4 2009 13:44
miles wrote:
I agree and this is a testament to the confusions sown by the unions and media machine, as various posters have pointed out above.

i don't disagree, but the jingoist sentiments clearly came from sections of the strikers themselves too.

miles wrote:
It just feels desperately important to be 'there' talking with the workers...!

as passive as it feels to be a spectator to events, to be fair the strikers seem to be dealing with nationalist opportunism pretty well (the SP may well argue the internationalist & trade unionist demands made at Lindsey reflect the influence of their member on the strike committee).

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Feb 4 2009 14:01

Speaking of the SP, they've translated their leaflet into Italian (you can download it from their website), according to a CWI member on urban75, they intend to distribute it to the Italians at LOR and have been making efforts to circulate it in Italy, in order to counter the claims by the Italian media that the strike is anti-Italian and organised by the BNP.

capricorn
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Feb 4 2009 14:26
Joseph K. wrote:
the dispute, at least at Lindsey does seem to have moved away from the 'British jobs...' line pushed by the unions/media early on and towards internationalism.

I think this is wishful thinking. This dispute (like all industrial disputes in fact) is sectional in the sense that it involves only a section of the working class confronted with a particular problem that affects them. Sectional disputes don't have to be harmful to working-class unity as one section can obtain something without this harming some other section (eg a wage increase or an improvement of working conditions). It is only when the object of the dispute is jobs that this danger arises. And this particular dispute is clearly over jobs, who should have them.

It is difficult to see what is the "internationalist" solution to a dispute like this one. Either the jobs go to workers from Italy or they go to workers from Britain or they are divided between them. But can dividing the jobs 50/50 or some other proportion (which seems to be what is going to happen) be called internationalist? I don't see any internationalist line on this dispute except to make a principled stand saying "workers of the world unite" and "abolish the wages system". That would just be a gesture I know, but we can't get involved in dividing up jobs between workers from different countries.

I'm not sure either that the "British jobs" line was pushed by "the unions" (but it was certainly fanned by the media). It's been recorded here that the awarding of the contract to a firm employing Italian workers was approved by union officials on condition that the Italian workers got the same pay and conditions as British workers would have done. Perhaps that is all they thought they could get without industrial action they considered unlikely. It is true that the wildcat strikes have been organised by ground-level union reps (they generally are) who did push the British Jobs line but are they "the union". It is also true that top union officials later jumped on the bandwagon (especially Simpson, who is seeking re-election). But we shouldn't kid ourselves that "British jobs for British workers" isn't a popular slogan amongst workers (in Britain) generally. It isn't something foisted upon them by the unions but how many (most, probably) think (as a result of course of general State indoctrination at school, via the media, etc.).

I'd suggest that one of the lessons of this episode is that it's not possible to draw a rigid distinction either between union members and the union or between official and unofficial strike action. It's never as simple as that. But it does show that industrial action is always essentially sectional with the dangers of that.

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Feb 4 2009 14:45
capricorn wrote:
It is difficult to see what is the "internationalist" solution to a dispute like this one. Either the jobs go to workers from Italy or they go to workers from Britain or they are divided between them. But can dividing the jobs 50/50 or some other proportion (which seems to be what is going to happen) be called internationalist? I don't see any internationalist line on this dispute except to make a principled stand saying "workers of the world unite" and "abolish the wages system". That would just be a gesture I know, but we can't get involved in dividing up jobs between workers from different countries.

well encouraging foreign workers to join strikes (as has happened in Devon at least, and possibly at LOR too), demanding equality of conditions and opposing jobs being only open to applicants of certain nationalities (as is alleged to be the case at LOR) seems to be a movement towards internationalism and away from "british jobs for british workers", as does the strikers' opposition to the BNP. i don't see how observing that is "wishful thinking."

capricorn wrote:
I'm not sure either that the "British jobs" line was pushed by "the unions"

well in the first few days you had a string of union officials quoted in the press calling on gordon brown to live up to his words etc, and many placards emblazoned with union logos pushing the slogan. i don't doubt this reflected a tendency present among the strikers, but notably it was this tendency that was pushed, not the tendencies to unofficial action, sympathy action, internationalism etc.

capricorn wrote:
we shouldn't kid ourselves that "British jobs for British workers" isn't a popular slogan amongst workers (in Britain) generally. It isn't something foisted upon them by the unions

who said this? who thinks there's some pure unsullied proletariat being led astray? not even the ICC as far as i can tell, and in the post you're replying to i said "the jingoist sentiments clearly came from sections of the strikers themselves too."

capricorn wrote:
It is true that the wildcat strikes have been organised by ground-level union reps (they generally are) who did push the British Jobs line but are they "the union".

only if one insists on conflating an organisational form with its contingent content. now of course there's no rigid delineation between union and non-union, official and unofficial action, but simply conflating everything done by union members into "the union" can serve only a trade unionist and not a communist perspective on the struggle (since the union apparatus is compelled to act against wildcats, secondary pickets etc both legally and structurally in order to maintain their position at the bargaining table).

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Feb 4 2009 14:54

Unions recommend yes vote on a deal

The deal is being voted on at a mass meeting on Thursday, be interesting to see what happens here.

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Feb 4 2009 15:04

interesting the deal is to offer a set number of nationality-specific jobs for a set period of time, and not the Lindsey demand for "Union controlled registering of unemployed and locally skilled union members, with nominating rights as work becomes available. (...) All Immigrant labour to be unionised (...) Trade Union assistance for immigrant workers - including interpreters - and access to Trade Union advice - to promote active integrated Trade Union Members."

which is by no means beyond criticism, but clearly rejects nationality as a way of allocating jobs.

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Feb 4 2009 15:15
Joseph K. wrote:
interesting the deal is to offer a set number of nationality-specific jobs for a set period of time, and not the Lindsey demand for "Union controlled registering of unemployed and locally skilled union members, with nominating rights as work becomes available. (...) All Immigrant labour to be unionised (...) Trade Union assistance for immigrant workers - including interpreters - and access to Trade Union advice - to promote active integrated Trade Union Members."

which is by no means beyond criticism, but clearly rejects nationality as a way of allocating jobs.

Yeah, this does seem to be an attempt by the union to regain control over the situation by appealing to nationalist sentiments.

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Feb 4 2009 15:30

Unite's Derek Simpson is giving a statement right now on Radio5. Has made clear that BNP and UKIP piggy backing of the strike has nothing to offer the workers. He's just talking about fair access to jobs for all and no exclusion of anyone based on nationality.
He's still on now so not sure what else he'll say.

ernie
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Feb 4 2009 17:30

Joseph K is right we do not see nationalism as something forced onto an otherwise pristine class. Nationalism is a permanent part of ideological pressure workers are under and is thus going to find expression. In recent years this permanent pressure has been added to by the state deliberate policy of whipping up all kinds of nationalist and xenophobic campaigns: against illegal immigrants, migrant workers, Muslims etc. The working class does not live in a bubble so it should not surprise us that there is a weight of nationalism in this struggle, given that bosses have done all they can to set up a situation where worker is pitted against worker.

What has been surprising is the way that those in the struggle have been engaged in a real struggle to try and work out what is the best way forwards in this situation. The media has been able to finder workers who are clearly influenced by nationalist ideas, and where they cannot find them they have engaged in some pretty startling creative editing. However, other workers have clearly found themselves faced with having to try and work their way through the contradictions of the situation, especially after the way the unions pushed the idea of British Jobs for British workers, time and time again workers said they were not against foreign workers and in many cases had worked abroad but they needed work. This was reflected in the resolution that was adopted by the mass meeting, which as Joseph points out did not put forwards the position of British Jobs for British workers etc. This was voted on by the strikers so unless they are totally deluded it shows that there main concern was not to struggle against their class comrades: despite the best efforts of the media to present it as such. The resolution its was a trade union one, so posed other problems to the workers in their efforts to work their way through the contradictions. But the main thing these contradictions are being addressed even if in a confused way by many workers, But is also very clear that a minority of the workers are seeking to try and put forwards an internationalist position. It is difficult to see why Capricorn cannot see this, it is not a question of overnight the strikers have seen the light and are now ready to consciously reject nationalism and to fight for communism; but of the development of a process of discussion and reflection. Why should these workers seek to put forwards these internationalist positions if it not in part to try and counter those putting forwards nationalism. How often have we seen workers calling on foreign worker to join a strike, or to put forwards the slogan workers of the world unite! We didn't see it in the miners strike or any other strike, in fact the miners strike was smashed by the inability to break out of the prison of getting all miners out first before going to other workers.

These expressions of internationalism, and open solidarity between workers from different countries (workers from Poland joining the strike at Langage, and I do not know if anyone else saw the hand made banner at the end of one of the BBC reports that said: Langage Power Station Polish Workers Join strike Solidarity) are probably in a minority but show that the process of developing class consciousness is undergoing an important development. If we underestimate these important developments we will be falling for the bourgeoisie's campaign to show this as a petty nationalist struggle by a bunch of backwards building workers.

It should not surprise us that these efforts to put forwards internationalist slogan should come from within this sector because many of these workers have worked abroad or work with workers from other countries.
Reading the treads on Thebearfacts has shown that there has been a process of discussion about the need to have another slogan that could make clear to workers generally that this was not a racist strike or against foreign workers. As others have point out this has mainly come from workers in other sectors but the fact that these posts have been allowed and discussed shows that these probably reflect similar discussions amongst the strikers etc. Those who organise/run this forum are still producing the British Job for British workers posters but have allowed the discussion to go on and allowed someone to put up posters not putting forwards this demand. Again I think this must reflect the fact that these discussions are not confined to the forum but are more widespread. This process of reflection could be a reason why the union in recent days has toned down the nationalism, and why proposed settlement whilst maintaining a nationalist element, has also been presented as not leading to any of the Italian or Portugese workers losing their jobs.

This does not mean it is not of central importance to reject the nationalist slogans and nationalism manifested in this struggle, but it is vital also to be able to see what is developing in this struggle and what it holds out for the future, as other have insisted upon. We could/will be faced with more strikes over this question but hopefully we will not faced with a situation where these struggle will take place in the aftermath of this struggle being drowned in nationalism (which was the worry of many) despite the very best efforts of the unions, press (funny how the only two union jackets at Killingholme manage to get into almost every image broadcast !), and politicians.

The fact that this struggle has not been totally consumed by nationalism and has lead to the beginning of a reflection within the whole class on the question nationalism and how to struggle against unemployment is an important gain for the working class.

baboon
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Feb 4 2009 18:02

I want to support that above.

Django, first of all sorry about the delay in replying to you. I have only just got t'internet at home after relying on the limited access of the library for some time. Belatedly the link was the Plymouth Herald that I got from a "langage" link. I don't know how to make links on here yet.

I support Ernie's text and Joseph K's and Steven's response to Capricorn. Further above, Capricorn equated my position, internationalist from the beginning, with that of the BNP. I am still waiting for an explanation or an apology.

Jingoism doesn't fall out of the sky. It is integral to bourgeois ideology, to nationalism, to the defence of the national interest that the trade unions also defend. Of course workers will be affected by this, only a fool would think otherwise. But the historical nature of the working class, the highest point of its consciousness, is internationalist.

On a crude scale, this movement represents a higher level of class struggle than the 1984 miners' strike - a strike imbued with sectoralism and nationalism. As Ernie points out, this is what eventually led to that movement's ignominious and crushing defeat. Capricorn would like to deceive us into thinking that this is just another sectional dispute and that flows directly from his total support for the trade unions and his contempt for working class consciousness and any possible development thereof. Further, he wants to obscure the positive nature of the wildcat nature of many of these strikes saying that they are union strikes. That's to miss the point that the unions originally did the deal with Irem and this is the reaction to that. And this isn't to say that the unions haven't been warning their mates at the top of government for months that there was trouble ahead. That's another of the union's roles for the state - another way that the unions act in the national interest.

For all the baggage and problems, this is a genuine movement of the working class, if no other "foreign" workers were involved, a de facto part of international class struggle. The expression of transborders solidarity and discussions and comments from workers about workers from abroad underlines the positive nature of this movement.

Ernie, it's "union jacks" not "union jackets" - though the latter are also nationalist and constrictive, like "straight..."

capricorn
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Feb 4 2009 18:54
baboon wrote:
Further above, Capricorn equated my position, internationalist from the beginning, with that of the BNP. I am still waiting for an explanation or an apology.

The explanation is that, once again, you were caught using rightwing arguments against the unions (to add to the others you're on record as using, i.e. the union leaders enjoy material privileges at the expense of their members, people can better a deal if they negotiate personally with their employer or go to a private lawyer, that non-union employers often pay better wages, etc). In your post you accused the union officials of having agreed to the use of Italian workers, ie of having sold out the striking workers in this respect. In case you've forgotten, this is what you wrote:

Quote:
Irem, the company that supplied the Italian workers for Lindsey refinery made a statement last night (Newsnight). In it they said, and there's no reason to doubt this, that they had held preliminary talks with the unions and suggested that there was agreement.

I suggested that the BNP were probably using this argument too. Of course I don't think you're a racist. You're not that bad.

capricorn
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Feb 4 2009 19:33

Looking for something else I came across http://bnp.REMOVEorg.uk/2009/02/hypocritical-snakes-in-december-unite-union-supported-foreign-labour-in-britain this [ admin - do not linked directly to hostile websites]
For those too shocked to look at the BNP site here's how the article begins:

Quote:
The staggeringly hypocritical and forked tongue liars running the Unite Union, who are now bleating about foreign workers in Britain, were actively working to support migrant labour in this country only a few weeks ago, a BNP News investigation has revealed.
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Feb 4 2009 19:43
revol68 wrote:
To be honest I just don't see what this strike is aiming to achieve,. If the Italian workers are on the same terms and conditions then the only argument is about equal access to work for both local and non local workers, however it is the decision of the contractor as to who they employ and if they wish to employ italian workers that's their choice, likewise british companies often only employ skilled british workers on contracts abroad.

actually revol, it looks like you haven't looked into this strike very well.

As you will probably be aware, contracting is used to break up workers organisation and undercut wages and conditions. The foreign part is pretty much irrelevant.

The stuff is explained pretty well on the socialist party site:

Quote:
A ninety day redundancy notice had been issued around mid November 2008 at Lindsey Oil Refinery (LOR) for Shaws' workforce.
This meant that by February 17th 2009 a number of Shaws' construction workers (LOR) would be made redundant.
The day before the Christmas holiday Shaws' shop-stewards reported to the men that a part of the contract on LOR's HDS3 plant had been awarded to IREM, an Italian company.
The Stewards explained that Shaws had lost a third of the job to IREM who would be employing their own core Portuguese and Italian workforce numbering 200-300.

Now, what workers in other areas have done faced with a similar situation is fight for the work is currently in jobs to remain in them, and be transferred to the new contractor on the same terms and conditions.

This happens frequently in local government for example, where workers have often fought to be TUPEd to the new contractor.

For the new contractor to come in with its own workforce, pushing the existing one all out of work is not acceptable, and workers should fight it. If workers somewhere can't protect their employment, then that just means there is insecure employment for the next lot of workers as well, so they don't ultimately get much out of it either - as the same could happen to them.

What has happened here is that the media have played up the nationalist element, which obviously has some resonance, and also has been taken up by some of the workers, quite understandably because it has got them massive media coverage and support.

Quote:
As for calls for the italian and portugese workers joining the strike, well to be quite crude, why on earth would they? Why would those workers join a strike that would at the very least see some of them replaced. It just seems like lefty rhetoric meant to mask the essentially reactionary nature of demanding local jobs go to local workers.

as I hope you can now see, that is not the demand, and it is not reactionary.

As for why they might join the strike - maybe you have heard of something called workers solidarity. For many people this still means something - and does more so for Italians and Portuguese people in general than the British.

In this country before, contract workers who have been brought in to replace sacked public sector workers (such as in the scenario I outlined above), some have refused to cross picket lines out of solidarity, because they don't want to take someone else's job away. A job that someone might have been doing for years. Also others might agree with the principle of defending workers rights, and stable employment because they see it as being in the interests of all workers.

As for the specific example, the Italian and Portuguese contractors claim that their workers are all permanent workers anyway, so they shouldn't even lose their jobs, they should just be moved elsewhere.

Quote:
I mean if we take at face value the claim that it's about local workers having equal rights to this work then that would have to hold across the rest of the EU and in that case we would see many british workers working abroad being sent home too.

rather than take things at face value as presented by things like the BNP and the Daily Mail I would have thought that someone would calls himself a communist, or even has an ounce of sense would actually try and analyse the content of a dispute rather than the surface.

Quote:
To be honest at best this strike is confused and rather directionaless and at it's worst reactionary and nationalist.

as others have pointed out, it is true that some of it has taken a nationalist direction. But this can and should be argued against within the context of supporting their workers struggle for job security.

Denouncing their struggle like the hysterical trots because the media have said it's racist is extremely foolish.

alibi
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Feb 4 2009 20:18
revol68 wrote:
I mean if we take at face value the claim that it's about local workers having equal rights to this work then that would have to hold across the rest of the EU and in that case we would see many british workers working abroad being sent home too.

this situation hasn't come from nowhere revol. theres a decade long history of european trade union struggle against the EU directives/ laws (Posted Worker Directive/ Services Directive etc) that have created this specific dynamic.

100,000 trade unionists marched in Brussels against this stuff a few years back. it was a massive campaign, mostly French, Belgium and Denmark TU led i believe.

The Laval/ Viking rulings mean that a firm from one nation can do work in another nation so long as they keep to their hours and minumum wage laws. they do not have to abide by the other nations local collective bargaining agreements.

so big business undercut one nations hard won terms and conditions by pitting worker against worker.

the situation today must be seen within this context.

martinh
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Feb 4 2009 20:28
Steven. wrote:
Quote:
A ninety day redundancy notice had been issued around mid November 2008 at Lindsey Oil Refinery (LOR) for Shaws' workforce.
This meant that by February 17th 2009 a number of Shaws' construction workers (LOR) would be made redundant.
The day before the Christmas holiday Shaws' shop-stewards reported to the men that a part of the contract on LOR's HDS3 plant had been awarded to IREM, an Italian company.
The Stewards explained that Shaws had lost a third of the job to IREM who would be employing their own core Portuguese and Italian workforce numbering 200-300.

Now, what workers in other areas have done faced with a similar situation is fight for the work is currently in jobs to remain in them, and be transferred to the new contractor on the same terms and conditions.

What I don't get is why TUPE doesn't apply. Not that TUPE generally does workers a lot of favours, but if one contractor loses a contract to another, the workers on that contract are covered under TUPE. Usually whether they want to or not (I didn't the last time it happened to me sad )

Anyone know what was different this time? The only general exemptions from TUPE are if the workers are not employees, i.e. are contractors, and if the reason for the transfer of undertakings is to do with the quality of the work of the first outfit (and there's been no mention of anything on this).

Regards,

Martin

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Rob Ray
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Feb 4 2009 20:36

Afaik the UK staff were made redundant, followed by the new contract being signed with IREM.

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Feb 4 2009 23:31
Revol68 wrote:
As for calls for the italian and portugese workers joining the strike, well to be quite crude, why on earth would they? Why would those workers join a strike that would at the very least see some of them replaced.
Revol68 wrote:
And yes thanks for the preaching about workers solidarity, but as far as I can see that's just bluster in this case as there is no reason why Italian workers would line up with a strike that would see at least some of them replaced by 'locals', especially as there is no evidence that they are on worse terms and conditions. It's naive to think that these workers would join such a strike even if it hadn't been articulated in such a nationalist manner and simply daft to imagine it will happen considering that it has.

Why? The jobs that are being offered as a concession for the strikers hadn't been filled, but had been closed to UK workers. None of the Italians or Portugese on site will lose their jobs. I don't think its inconceivable that EU workers could strike in solidarity in a case like this, as hundreds of Poles are doing it currently. Polish workers walked out with locals over management using Polish workers to undercut others at the nuclear power station in Plymouth last year too.

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Choccy
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Feb 4 2009 23:56
Django wrote:
Polish workers walked out with locals over management using Polish workers to undercut others at the nuclear power station in Plymouth last year too.

I think the point Revol's making is that in the Lindsey Oil case it's not at all clear that they are being undercut.

Oisleep, Capricorn and Revol have articulated reservations that i've tussled with myself in this case, the lack of a clear solution or concrete demand being probably the single most important.

I've done contract work before. When we worked for GEM (a Belfast company) I worked on separate contracts from US companies that had outsourced to NI. The company had won an Amazon.com contract before I started working for them and after a while I ended up on the Amazon.com contract, we were employed to do email responses (when you asked 'where's my stuff?' that was me wink )
Now, this was work that US workers (and the .com branch of Amazon is predominantly US, .co.uk was a completely separate deal and we didn't do it) could have been doing, but they'd outsourced to NI anyway ( I think government subsidies in NI in the early 00s might have meant it was viable to do this).

Our workplace was notoriously anti-union, and nothing was ever organised before or after I worked there, but had calls been made for us to support a strike that would have effectively meant some of us certainly losing our jobs you'd have been hard pressed to gain popular support.

I'll be honest, the more i think about it the more confused I get about what the precise aims of the strike were. I've been following the news and discussion on it from the off and at the minute, the only thing I can see positive in it so far is that the nationalist shite seems to have been booted out strikers talking to the press have been making it clear that it's 'not about hating foreign workers, it's about having a fair crack of the whip' etc, but even at that it's not clear what solution to the strike would count as any sort of gain in this case.