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Solidarity with Grangemouth Workers !

by Open-Publishing - Monday 28 April 2008

Edito Strikes Retirements - Pensions UK

Solidarity is proud to offer our 100% support to the oil refinery workers at Grangemouth.

For the “crime” of refusing to accept the tearing up of their pension scheme they have been vilified by the Ineos management and sections of the press in Scotland. In a disgusting campaign the oil workers have been accused of “holding the country to ransom” and of being “hell bent on strike action.”

In reality it is the Ineos Company led by billionaire James Ratcliffe who are responsible for this situation. After buying Grangemouth from BP in 2005 Ratcliffe – who has a personal fortune of almost £2 billion - has embarked on a brutal assault on jobs and working conditions at Grangemouth. This has culminated in their decision to close a pension scheme that was negotiated and has been in existence for years under BP.

New workers will see their pension rights torn up. At the same time Ineos are cutting back their own payments into the existing scheme – which is well funded and in surplus. Not only that but they are also penalising existing staff who want to retire early.

And this is from a company that is making millions every week from Grangemouth. Ineos’s greed seems to know no limits. Quite rightly union members refused to accept this daylight robbery and voted by 97% to take strike action.Why should a multi-billionaire who runs a company making a fortune from Grangemouth oil refinery get away with this?

Solidarity believes in taking sides.

We are proud to support the striking workers.

Unite and the Grangemouth workers have been accused of defending the indefensible; a good pension without an employee contribution. But this is a fallacy. A pension is deferred wages. Whether it’s a contributory pension or not is not the issue. T

he Grangemouth workers are making millions every week for Ineos, but they only receive a small portion of that back in wages and pension provision. Rather than attack trade unionists for defending their pension rights – where is the condemnation for a multi-national company who are stealing money from their own workers.

In taking this heroic strike action the trade unionists at Grangemouth are standing up for all workers who are fighting to defend pensions. Workers across the public and private sector are seeing their pension rights undermined and even torn-up altogether. The only recourse workers have is to strike to stop this pensions robbery.

The workers at Grangemouth are a shining example to all trade unionists and deserve the backing of all workers. Just as the civil servants, postal workers and local government workers do when defending their pensions.

What this dispute also underlines is the need to take vital assets like the oil refinery out of the hands of unscrupulous bosses like the Ratcliffe’s of this world.

Solidarity supports the bringing of Grangemouth, and the oil industry as a whole, into public ownership. Nationalisation on the basis of democratic control would guarantee that the massive profits being squeezed out of this industry were used to ensure decent wages and pension rights for the workers involved – not to line the pockets of big business.

It would also end the profiteering of the petrol companies who use any excuse to increase fuel prices and the burden on ordinary people.Solidarity says

• Stop the pensions robbery.

• End the attack on the pension scheme at Grangemouth.

• For the right to a decent pension for all workers.

• Full support for workers taking strike action to defend pension rights.

• Nationalise the oil industry