Sunday 27 April 2008

Pensions, Ineos and Oil

When employers want to cut our pension entitlements, make us work longer or pay more, they often claim "there is no alternative" due to rising costs, life expectancy etc.

There can rarely have been a company where such excuses rang more hollow than Ineos, which runs the oil refinery at Grangemouth.

Oil prices have soared in recent years, and oil industry profits have soared with them. Yet their clear "ability to pay" isn't stopping Ineos trotting out the same arguments and proposals as other employers.

In recent days there has been relentless media pressure on the Ineos workforce, and it to the credit of members and of UNITE that they have stood up to this and gone ahead with the action today. Media coverage rarely raises the point that workers wouldn't be considering strike action if employers were treating them fairly, or that employers have the power to settle disputes.

To counter the media barrage, UNITE has published a lot of information about the dispute.

Isn't it remarkable how news coverage can flip between two cliches: "unions are irrelevant dinosaurs with no power any more" to "unions hold the country to ransom". The reality "unions have a lot of power, but not enough and aren't clear enough how to use it" rarely gets a look in.

We should all support our members at Ineos defending their pensions and those of future employees.

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