The third part of an interview with Neil Rothnie about North Sea oil workers’organisation.
Gabriel Levy. All the events you have described, from Piper Alpha onwards, took place in the aftermath of the 1984-85 miners’ strike. How do these things relate to each other?
The second part of an interview with Neil Rothnie about North Sea oil workers’organisation.
Gabriel Levy. When the OILC was set up, in the aftermath of the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988, what was it aiming to do?
Neil Rothnie. Ronnie Macdonald had a vision of the OILC being a ginger group to force the unions to get their act together, to collaborate and to do what unions were supposed to do.
GL. What did other workers think? And what did you think?
In this interview, Neil Rothnie describes the surge of organisation among oil workers in the British section of the North Sea in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The shock of the explosion on the Piper Alpha oil rig on 6 July 1988, in which 167 oil workers died, was a catalyst for rank-and-file organisation. Activists established the Oil Industry Liaison Committee (OILC), after the Piper Alpha disaster, to coordinate action by workers who were members of different trade unions.
The OILC sought to supercede rivalry among unions affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which it saw as an obstacle, and was one of the strongest workers’ organisations to emerge independently of the TUC-linked structures in the UK in recent decades. Neil Rothnie set up the workers’ newspaper Blowout, which was linked to the OILC and eventually became its formal mouthpiece.
Issue of Solidarity from 16 September 1962 with articles about a Committee of 100 leaflet being distributed in Moscow, the situation in Vauxhall plants, the Japanese Zengakuren and more.
- Against all bombs - text of a leaflet distributed in Moscow by supporters of the Committee of 100.
- That leaflet - an account of the distribution of the above leaflet in the Soviet Union and its repercussions.
- The falling rate of prophets - John Lane - a Trotskyist song to the tune of old Jonah, he lived in a whale.
Issue of Solidarity from 21 May 1962 with articles about an unofficial struggle against tea break reductions at Ford Dagenham, the civil rights movement and more.
- Whither peanuts? - article on a rowdy May Day demonstration, arguing for solidarity with the "troublemakers".
- News from Ford - a participants account of a successful unofficial struggle at Ford's Dagenham plant of workers against bosses and the unions against the reduction of tea break times.
Issue of Solidarity from 19 April, 1962 with articles about a huge sit-in at the British Motor Corporation, the US civil rights movement, work on the London docks and more.
- Two marches - on an Easter Monday march against nuclear weapons
- Sit-in at BMC - Longbridge plant immobilised. No arrests! - Ken Weller - on a week-long city on strike of 3000 hourly paid workers at the British Motor Corporation factory in Longbridge, Birmingham.
First issue of the second volume of Solidarity with a series of articles looking at on-the-job action in the workplace including working to rule, withdrawing goodwill, sabotage and more.
- A week at the circus - on a court case of an anti-nuclear protester
- Working to rule - an analysis of the workers-tactic of the work to rule, looking in particular at a 1961 postal workers' dispute
- The gospel according to rule - E Morse - In the Beginning Was the Rule…
This half-hour lecture by former radical printshop worker and LSE lecturer Jess Baines investigates the largely forgotten history of the radical design and print collectives of the 1970s and 80s.
Inspired by French general strike of 1968, radical print co-ops came together all over Britain and, for a time, created a sustained alternative design and print scene based off a combination of paid commercial work from broad left groups such as unions, "red" labour councils and radical working class organisations, alongside a commitment to pushing radical messages as often as possible.
Police have raided the Essex home of traveller activist Grattan Puxon.
Early this morning (10 September) taser-armed police from the Essex special mobile force stationed at Boreham, accompanied by a search team, entered the home of veteran Romani movement activist Grattan Puxon. They included officers who took part in the mass eviction at Dale Farm in October last year.
Nearly 300 anti-fascists were arrested on Saturday following attempts to prevent the far-right English Defence League (EDL) from marching in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.
Police revealed 286 people, the vast majority anti-fascists, were arrested for allegedly breaching conditions placed on the protests. Among those arrested were passers-by, legal observers and journalists.