Total workers have won a stunning victory to beat back bosses’ attacks on their unions.
All the workers’ demands – the reinstatement of almost 700 engineers and construction workers sacked for taking unofficial strike action, new jobs for all the workers whose forced redundancies sparked the walk-out and assurances that no-one will be victimised for taking solidarity action – were won in a determined fightback against bosses’ attempts to tear up union agreements.
The unofficial, all-out strike at the Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire was backed throughout the week by thousands of workers walking out at power stations, refineries and gas terminals across Britain in defiance of anti-union laws.
Faced with such determined resistance, Total bosses had no choice but to back down and concede defeat, despite insisting for more than a week that executives at the multinational corporation would not talk with union reps until the strikers went back to work.
GMB Lindsey shop steward Phil Whitehurst declared that the solidarity strikes had been crucial in forcing Total and the industry bosses’ club, the Engineering Construction Industry Association, against the wall.
‘Workers throughout the whole industry played a major part in this monumental victory and the Lindsey shop stewards committee sends its gratitude to all those who took action in our support.
‘We could not have done it without you,’ he added.
Unite assistant general secretary Les Bayliss revealed that workers will vote on the deal at a mass meeting at the refinery on Monday and confirmed that all the union reps on site were recommending acceptance.
‘We’re pleased that we were able to thrash out a deal which the union can put to the workforce. The employers have agreed to reinstate all the sacked workers,’ he declared.