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Showing posts with the label Ineos

Union Smear Dismissed

In case it perhaps have gone un-noticed considering the initial publicity (and the Scotsman has deemed it not worthy of a follow up story)  but the police investigation of thousands of e-mails released to the Sunday Times by INEOS in its smear campaign against Steve Deans, a trade union official,  were found  “there is no evidence of any criminality." in the words of Police Scotland.

Fair and Balanced?

Cameron has ordered an investigation into union tactics in the wake of the threatened closure of the Grangemouth oil refinery, that saw Unite members picketing the homes of INEOS directors.

The review will be led by QC Bruce Carr, who acted for  British Airways against the trade unions in court when it blocked plans for a Christmas strike by Unite members in 2009.

TUC head of employment rights Sarah Veale said the investigation was clearly “politically driven”.

The Lesson from INEOS

There is a post-mortem taking place amongst the labour movement and the Left parties about the developments at Grangemouth. The Trotskyist group Socialist Party of England and Wales/Socialist Party Scotland have followed their usual party line. The UNITE leadership were at fault for not staging an occupation and calling for nationalisation. The old leaders should be  substituted by them as new leaders who would defy the law and go down fighting rather than capitulation without a fight. Bantam-weights should square up to heavy-weights. It is all about the perfidy of union bureaucrats. Others accuse the unions of being the enforcers and the agents of capital.

The point is that the context of the struggle at Grangemouth was not shaped by Unite but they were instead simply reacting and responding to factors beyond their control i.e. victims of the ebb and flow of the demand for world fuel and how corporations finance themselves under global capitalism.

The union itself is an inadequate f…

The Power of Capital

The lesson on the power of the capitalist has been re-learned at Grangemouth.

Unite's general secretary Len McCluskey said shop stewards had decided to accept the company's survival plan "warts and all" in the wake of the closure decision. That included a pay freeze, ending of a final salary pension scheme and other changes to terms and conditions which had initially been rejected by staff in a union vote.

Workers who struggle to maintain and better their conditions should be commended, but until the working class consciously and politically organise to end the wages system the same battles will have to be fought over and over again. The bitter experience of the Ineos workers may lead some of them to question the basis of capitalist society, but from start to finish all this struggle was attempting was to get the best from a bad situation. Workers are learning by bitter experience. They are learning very slowly. Our job is to shorten the time and try to speed up the…

Ineos - the Capitalist Black-mailer

Yet again Ian Bell of the Herald appears to be on the bell with his latest article which the following are extracts, as reading The Herald online is now protected by a pay-wall subscription.

“When the Unite union threatened a strike for this weekend, the company asserted that Scotland would be shut down by a reckless action. Yet with the threat averted, Ineos elects to close its site regardless. It, too, has demands.

Ineos would blame trades unionists for that, of course. Ineos always blames trades unionists. The  Swiss-based concern and Jim Ratcliffe, its multi-billionaire (worth upwards of £3 billion in 2010) ,main shareholder and chairman, have no record of embracing unions. Instead, since 1998, Ineos has grown by cutting wages, stripping out pension schemes and altering working practices.

Ineos wants to be rid of a pension scheme it deems "unaffordable". Once again, it wants to pay less in wages. Not for the first time, duress is inherent in each and every company state…

Grangemouth Strike

Unions in dispute are often depicted as selfish workers striking out of self interest. These workers are striking to prevent their company’s pension scheme being undermined for future workers joining the scheme. They are standing up to protect the pensions of future generations of workers in their industry. Isn't that altruism ? Isn't that self-sacrifice ?

Jim Ratcliffe, 55, owner of the strike-torn Grangemouth refinery , reported to be 25th in this years Times Rich List with wealth of £2.3 billion will have no doubt secured the future of his future generations and progeny .

Ratcliffe has grown Ineos rapidly by making ever-bigger acquisitions funded mostly with debt, says “How come, one might ask? Surely even in today’s markets where liquidity is sloshing around, one needs to fund at least 20% of a deal with equity?” Ratcliffe gets round that requirement by using Ineos as the equity – focusing single-mindedly on growing cash flow to increase the company’s debt…