Britain: Strikes spread throughout refinery and power industry

Demands proposed by Socialist Party supporters agreed by mass meeting

Alistair Tice (Socialist Party in Yorkshire) made the following phone report, on Monday 2 February 2009, on the mass picket at the Lindsey total refinery North Lincolnshire.

Strikes spread throughout refinery and power industry

The strike committee accepted the main demands of Keith Gibson and John Mckewan to put to the mass meeting today.

Keith is a Socialist Party member and on the strike committee and John is a Socialist Party supporter and victimised worker from the refinery.

The strike committee added an extra demand, calling for John to be reinstated into his job.

The demands were

  • No victimisation of workers taking solidarity action.
  • All workers in UK to be covered by NAECI Agreement.
  • Union controlled registering of unemployed and locally skilled union members, with nominating rights as work becomes available.
  • Government and employer investment in proper training / apprenticeships for new generation of construction workers – fight for a future for young people.
  • 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.
  • Build links with construction trade unions on the continent.

The mass meeting overwhelmingly voted for the demands put to them by the strike committee.

Prior to the meeting Keith and John (and their wives who had came to support the strikers) had seen some BNP members in the car park and told them that they were not welcome, with that the BNP [British National Party – a far right party] cleared off.

Socialist Party members gave out over 700 leaflets putting our position (which was now the position of the strike committee) and the leaflet was welcomed. One worker (before he read the leaflet) thought that were giving out BNP leaflets and protested that he was not a racist and didn’t support the BNP and was relieved when it was explained to him that they were Socialist Party leaflets and supported workers unity.

Keith is part of the negotiating committee that is now in discussions with the management at the refinery. The strike is continuing and looks as if it is spreading throughout the country at the time of writing with Sellafield and Heysham nuclear plants out. Workers at other plants, according to the BBC, have also decided to stay out, these include Grangemouth and Longannon in Scotland. Warrington and Staythope in Newark are also out as well.

The strikes are spreading from fiddlers ferry in Warrington to the Drax power station in Yorkshire.

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February 2009