Breaking: Unite launches legal action over Grangemouth sacking

Unite launched legal action today after Grangemouth convenor Mark Lyon was sacked by Ineos.

Mr Lyon who has worked at the company for 25 years was tried in absence and told of his dismissal earlier today.

Unite said it will appeal the company’s decision and issue an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal and victimisation for trade union reasons. Continue reading

Unite statement on Falkirk

Falkirk CrisisIn July this year Unite was subjected to a major campaign of criticism regarding allegations of misconduct in the affairs of Falkirk Constituency Labour Party – in essence that the union had tried to manipulate the selection procedure for a Labour candidate for the constituency outside the Party’s rules. The union was enjoined by a range of political and media voices to take these allegations seriously and investigate them.

The core of the allegations, which have now resurfaced in a distorted form in the media, were contained in an internal Labour Party report into Falkirk. Unite has not received a copy of this “Falkirk report” to this day, although a senior Unite official was allowed to read a copy at Labour Party headquarters in July. Continue reading

Is Britain being held to ransom by trans-national companies and billionaires?

blackmailIf you cut through the hysteria currently being generated by the Murdoch echo chamber that is the Sunday Times and the Daily Mail whose hatred of trade unions knows no bounds, there is a stubborn truth that no amount of air-brushing will do away with. It is that Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire owner of the vital national asset that is Grangemouth, has been prepared to hold the country to ransom, and in organising an old fashioned Victorian lock-out, has been quite prepared to close the plant down altogether. In order for this not to happen, the workers at the plant have been obliged to agree to all of his miserable terms. Continue reading

No change at Falkirk. Just one good trade unionist out of a job

Stevie Deans and GrangemouthFor the Labour Party, nothing about Falkirk has changed. There never was any ballot rigging scandal there, as the BBC found three months ago. In spite of many column inches of the Sunday Times (£) devoted to “union dirty tricks“, there is no new smoking gun amongst the 1000 emails that Ineos have passed to the local Police (who must be pretty fed up with having their time wasted by any bigwig that happens to have a grudge against Stevie Deans), or presumably the Sunday Times would have told us. Continue reading

Grangemouth closure exposes why markets and capitalists like Ratcliffe are not fit for purpose

Till yesterday it seemed inconceivable that Grangemouth, representing 2% of Scotland’s GDP and 8% of its manufacturing capacity, could be closed down by an industrial dispute, with 800 jobs lost and another 600 nearby plus 2,000 contract staff severely at risk. The dispute reached rancorous levels from the demands of Ratcliffe, billionaire hedge fund owner of Ineos and apparently orchestrating evens from his yacht on the Cote d’Azur, for the workforce to accept a pay freeze for 2014-16 (and hence probably a real terms pay cut of some 5%), the ending of bonuses till 2016, a lower shift allowance, and the termination of the final salary pension scheme, in addition to demanding that Unite accept a no-strike deal. The ruthlessness with which Ratcliffe is trying to enforce his will, regardless of the consequences, may now threaten both fuel and chemical supplies in Scotland as well as devastate local businesses. Continue reading