British oil workers fight Total sackings

This video about Lindsey, England, says about itself:

Sacked oil worker defiant

22 June 2009

Kenny Ward, who was sacked from his job at Lindsey oil terminal, gives a defiant speech to fellow workers.

From London daily The Morning Star:

Total war: Protests solid as 650 workers sacked

Friday 19 June 2009

by James Tweedie

Lindsey oil refinery workers have declared that “the gloves are off” in their dispute after employer Total sacked nearly 650 striking staff.

French oil giant Total wrote to 647 workers at its Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire saying that they had until Monday to reapply for their jobs, while continuing to negotiate until the unofficial strike was called off.

Trade unions condemned the dramatic development which sparked further solidarity strikes amid warnings of a major industrial dispute. But the government backed Total, urging the sacked workers to end their “illegal” strike, reapply for their jobs and enter negotiations.

Around 1,100 construction workers building the Ensus bio-fuel plant on Teesside walked off the site in support of the sacked refinery workers.

Some 450 contract maintenance staff followed at the Stanlow oil refinery in Cheshire, 300 workers at Aberthaw power station in south Wales, 100 scaffolding contractors at Staythorpe power station in Nottinghamshire and others at Ferrybridge power station in Yorkshire.

Text messages being sent to workers across the country read: “If you’re not yet out just remember next time it could be you. We must fight this NOW.”

Some activists warned that power workers could now walk out, threatening electricity supplies. “The entire industry will shut down over this,” one warned.

The unofficial strike and factory gate protest by 1,200 workers began last week after the plant’s HDS-3 project subcontractor Shaw laid off 51 skilled contract workers while another subcontractor on the same project was hiring 60 staff.

Those who lost their jobs included many former shop-steward members of the strike committee involved in January and February’s unofficial action over jobs.

The strikers said that the redundancies were in breach of agreements between the employer and trade unions.

General union GMB general secretary Paul Kenny condemned what he called a management “lock-out,” saying: “Total have for a full week refused to meet the union to resolve the problems through ACAS.

“It seems pretty obvious that there is a mass case of victimisation taking place here. Locking out the workforce at Lindsey will not solve the problem, it will escalate it.”

Among the placards brandished at the refinery gates today was one which said: “900 sacked by greedy bosses. No to cheap labour. Yes to workers’ rights. Join the strike.”

Phil Whitehurst of GMB said the mood among the pickets was angry and predicted further action around Britain later.

“This is all about Total now. They have done this and they have to come to the table. We have been trying to get them to the table all this week. Now these men have been sacked, what can Total do now?”

Unite national officer Bernard McAulay arrived at the site just before a mass meeting of the strikers and said that he was going in to talk to the management of Total and its contractors.

He told hundreds of protesters in the refinery’s car park: “I have to say the actions of the employers and the methods they have used is nothing but despicable.”

It later emerged that the talks never got under way.

Also speaking outside the refinery, Lindsey shop steward Kenny Ward said he was among those who had lost their jobs at the site.

He said: “The gloves are off. It’s disgraceful what’s happened here.

“I’ve never walked away from a fight in my life. Total have to realise what they’ve unleashed.

“The lads have come out all over the place, Wales, Cheshire, power stations, refineries, everywhere. Even non-unionised sites are supporting us and walking out.”

See also here.

‘No more cuts! Sack Adam Crozier!’ shouted angry postal workers outside Royal Mail’s London headquarters yesterday, as 10,000 members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) walked out on strike across the capital: here.

An explosion at Total’s Carling plant during the manual re-ignition of a boiler killed 2 workers and injured 17 more: here.

Total bosses should be brought to account for the death of a worker at one of Britain’s largest oil refineries, GMB union reps demanded on Wednesday.

3 thoughts on “British oil workers fight Total sackings

  1. Lindsey refinery hit by big blaze

    Fire Over 50 firefighters tackled a large fire at the Lindsey oil refinery at North Killingholme, North Lincolnshire, yesterday.

    Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said it was called to a large blaze in a distillation unit at the refinery yesterday morning.

    A spokesman said they had no reports of injuries at the refinery, which is run by French oil company Total.


  2. Pingback: French striking oil workers speak | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: ‘Total oil, G4S mercenaries killl Yemeni workers’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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