On 28 January engineering construction staff at Lindsey Oil Refinery (LOR) ignited the spark that’s the 21st century Battle for Britain. French multinational Total, building new plant at its refinery at Immingham in North Lincolnshire, had appointed the US firm Jacobs as principal contractor. Jacobs in flip had eliminated the sub-contractor Shaws and appointed IREM – Italian/Sicilian – to take on the sub-contract.
The dispute at LOR that adopted was settled, profitable a dedication from IREM that half the jobs will be provided to local labour, and this job is due to complete in a few monthstime. But the entire challenge of using overseas labour continues, now open, now hidden.
At the center of this wrestle is the attempt to destroy the last remaining nationwide settlement in building in Britain with overseas contractors using foreign labour to construct new energy stations and different plant in Britain that come underneath the phrases of the NAECI, the “Blue Book
Alstom, another French multinational, is the principle contractor at Staythorpe energy station near Newark in Nottinghamshire and in addition on the Isle of Grain in Kent and (reported in Workers in November 2008) at Langage near Plymouth. All these websites have sub-contractors refusing to make use of UK labour.
Whole mentioned things equivalent to IREM has the “specialist skills- however they never mentioned what these have been because British employees have them and are at the moment out of work. It stated IREM is paying the same price – perhaps, however even that’s in dispute and it’s definitely not paying the other facets of the Blue Book close to accommodation or the ability to go residence as soon as a month and have it paid for.
At Staythorpe, Alstom claims two-thirds of the workforce are from the UK. Possibly, but Alstom is being disingenuous: it’s referring to the civils not the expert engineering building workers. The dispute has raised issues that have gone properly beyond the fast.
The LOR battle started by quoting again Brown’s slogan of ‘British Jobs for British Staff (BJ4BW)’. Brown, in fact, used it in an try to curry favour during his populist “Britishnessphase when first assuming the role of PM.
But the construction workersuse of BJ4BW captured the imagination of employees the size and breadth of Britain nicely past the industry itself, in a method not seen because the 84/85 minersstrike. It roused staff throughout Europe and certainly the world, and sparked sympathy walkouts across the trade in Britain. Why? Because it is correct!
Sufficient is enough
These weren’t spontaneous (with out thought) walkouts – the difficulty has been simmering for years. Workers in the business have been turning into more and more involved and offended. Staythorpe became the main target last October, the Isle of Grain turned engaged in December. At LOR in January enough turned sufficient.
The ultra left, along with the media and authorities, instantly began wittering about its potential to be latched onto by the far proper odious BNP, as if sincere British workers can’t distinguish between a bigoted xenophobic anti-worker strategy and the defence of ourselves and where we live. (One wonders how fascism throughout WW2 was ever defeated!).
British individuals are “allowedto cheer and hoorah for the Olympic team or some other sporting occasion but in terms of work, our personal future or our ability to put food on our personal tables it is somehow “racistto say no! Where do we draw the line? This can be a measure of the confusion that exists within our class.
The extremely left and global capital share the identical demand even if they categorical reverse reasons for doing so – each demand no borders and unfettered migration. The logical extension is that the British working class should accept the EU diktat (for we have now never been asked) that anybody within the EU (and past) can come and reside/work right here. Hundreds of thousands have the “rightto do so.
That so-known as “socialistsaccept that is at best misguided and at worst collaborating with the destruction of any semblance of current class organisation. When capital calls for the destruction of the nation state, then the demand for employees nationalism and sovereignty becomes revolutionary. Capitalists know this. It’s our aspect that lacks that clarity.
Not so way back it was generally accepted that if workers, even when unemployed, accepted lower wages and took the jobs of these combating to improve their lot, they were described as “scabs the bottom of the low. It was by no means a question of color or nationality – simply class relations and whose side you had been on. Now, because the employers use mass migration/importation of labour, we are cluttered with notions of “they are solely trying to place meals on the table “it’s not their fault “what’s wrong with somebody trying to raised themselves? and so forth. Nothing at all, so long because it isn’t at your or my or our/their own country’s expense!
Make no mistake, this dispute has not “gone awaysimply because LOR was settled and it has dropped out of the information headlines. Removed from it – wrestle will ebb and move, and that’s natural. The LOR dispute has unleashed the category, usually, to areas that it has been involved about for a while.
However the character of the enemy is underestimated and has been ignored for too lengthy. So it is no surprise that there are difficulties. Because of the wrestle to date, engineering construction workers, whereas experiencing a leap in understanding, have made calls for that show a lack of readability of the forces ranged against us. Social democracy retains its grip, but it is loosening.
That is evidenced by a common call for the Labour authorities to understand their plight, and if they only did, they’d do something within the pursuits of Britain and the individuals who put them into authorities. That the EU and “freemotion of labour isn’t really the issue, it’s just some nasty greedy foreign employers taking benefit. Then there may be the concern that they could also be tarnished as racist, thus the demand is for British workers solely to be given a “fair crack of the whip That we’d like control is changing into ever clearer – admitting it’s the beginning of the solution.
The requires the unions, Unite and GMB, to organise for “officialstrike action ignore that proven fact that British and EU laws say it’s not authorized with no “trade disputeand that ACAS has confirmed the employers did not act “illegally’ (Trade unions have been once unlawful!)
“So whatsay some – the NUM and Scargill did it. But the NUM was a single-trade union with 200,000 members. Unite and GMB at the moment are common unions with round 2.5 million members covering some 25 sectors, and so they aren’t all on board. Regardless of the rightness of the cause the unions will not endanger the entire organisation at this level in time.
It is changing into a race in opposition to time to raise our understanding of the place we are. The employersorganisation, the ECIA, has upped the ante by raising the spectre of authorized motion. Reckless indignant calls for all-out action are being countered with the understanding that this goes to be an extended battle and if we are critical about profitable, then the ways we make use of have to be guerrilla in nature. There can also be a growing understanding that this can be a struggle for a future for the trade itself inside Britain, and win we must.
We’re instructed that globalisation is just the best way Petroleum it’s. That protectionism is improper and positively harmful (indeed it is – for capital). That now we have to accept the demise of the concept of the nation state. That whatever capital decides we must accept it, even when it means our personal destruction. How bizarre is that?
When the enemy says this stuff, may it not be proper to advance the idea of workersnationalism in each country, which would really deny the flexibility of global capital to function? It needs to be far less complicated than attempting to create a worldwide union – with what as an finish recreation? With the ability to take on the employers on a more equal footing? Absolutely that merely means they are nonetheless in control?
Imagine a world the place staff, in management, refused to go to battle against each other and as a substitute traded on an equal footing, recognising that how we produce goods/grow food should be achieved in a sustainable approach and must be helpful. Now that is a future value combating for.
Letter from Lincolnshire
A Workers reader who was lately with the placing oil refinery staff in Lincolnshire has sent the next report.
Again in 1969-70 I worked on the Lindsey Oil Refinery site as a JCB driver. The icy winds howled in from the River Humber, simply as they did on Wednesday 4th February last as I gave out Employees leaflets to the placing contractors. I used to be glad the CPBML was showing them support and opposing mass migration.
Once we built the primary part of that refinery an excellent friend of mine was site convenor, a pipe fitter. The main contractor, Lummus (US firm, like the present one, Jacobs) supplied him all kinds of bribes to get him to promote out, to no avail. He was a superb cartoonist, in order that they requested him to attract security cartoons in a pleasant warm workplace, or would he wish to take charge of a contract in South America perhaps? The convenor stayed with the lads, fitting pipes in that Arctic blast.
The accommodation barge occupied by the imported staff is moored in Grimsby’s outdated fish dock, now disused. It was Hattersley and Callaghan, by the way, who ruined the fishing trade by making an attempt to bully Iceland. There’s not a lot new about “New Labour Refusing Iceland’s generous supply of 70,000 tons of fish a yr, they despatched in the navy. After a number of weeks of this flag-wagging stupidity, Iceland threatened to withdraw from NATO and to expel the USAF from Keflavik. On US orders, Britain gave in. “Can we nonetheless have the 70,000 ton catch per 12 months?requested Callaghan. “You can catch nothing,came the reply.
Grimsby is now a very depressed town. The engineers at Whole-Fina’s Lindsey refinery have returned to work after profitable one hundred new jobs. “We gave them something to think about,said one fitter.
The leftover leaflets I pushed through doorways in Scunthorpe, one other North Lincolnshire town beneath strain from abroad. Indian steel baron Ratan Tata calls for wage cuts and de-manning. In 1967 the giant Scunthorpe steelworks was nationalised to bail out United Steel earlier than being modernised and re-privatised. We must always take it again.
The Workers leaflet referred to above is obtainable here as a pdf.
The poster “British Jobs for British Staff” used in the Lindsey and Staythorpe struggles was produced by www.bearfacts.co.uk. The web site is the place to go for dialogue about contract labour.