THE just concluded 48-hour strike by the Grangemouth oil refinery workers was a magnificent success and showed to the entire world the power that this section of workers has to successfully defend their pensions and their basic rights, especially after the immediate shut down of the Forties oil pipelines.
This definitely produced panic in the ranks of the bosses and their governments at Holyrood and Westminster. These speedily commissioned an armada of tankers from the continent to Scotland to try and stop the closure of petrol outlets and industry.
The employer however is absolutely determined to end the final salary pension scheme, come what may, and has shown it even by his most recent actions.
On Friday April 25, on the eve of the just-concluded 48 hour strike, the Ineos management sent a letter out to every worker spelling out that on August 1 they would be ending the final salary pension scheme for all new starters, as well as ending early retirement at 55 (on a full pension) for the established workforce.
This was correctly seen by the Unite (TGWU) trade union as a declaration of war by a management that remained determined to end the final salary pension scheme for all workers, starting with the thin end of the wedge for new starters.
As the capitalist press has made clear, the eyes of the whole country are on this struggle, since both the Labour government and the bosses have been trying to rid the UK of all final salary pension schemes for workers.
Because of the cowardice of the trade union bureaucracy, they have achieved some success nationally, but now the bosses are seriously worried that they will face a defeat at Grangemouth because of the strategic nature of the industry and the determination of the workforce to defend their gains.
Such a defeat would result in the entire working class taking up the cudgels for its pensions, wages and jobs.
It is obvious what must be done to win this struggle at Grangemouth. The bosses must be told that if they do not immediately withdraw the attack on the final salary pension scheme, there will be an indefinite all-out strike at the terminal.
The government must be told that if they bring in emergency powers to try to illegalise any action, they will face an indefinite general strike by all the TUC trade unions.
This is the kind of action that is needed to defeat the employer, bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers government.
These are clearly the next steps to take for a serious defence of the final salary pension scheme and the gains that the working class as a whole has made.
However, this is a step that the paper tigers, or the tame pussies, of the trade union bureaucracy are absolutely not willing to take.
The TGWU general secretary, Tony Woodley, left the mass meeting of the membership that took place on Sunday morning to tell the media that after the 48-hour strike there will be a pause for peace.
This is just what the employers and the two governments need so that they can try and build up oil, diesel and petrol stocks at a frenzied pace.
Yesterday Unite spokesmen were adamant that there would not even be a work to rule, and that the industrial action is over.
If this is so, this is playing into the hands of the employer and the Scottish and Westminster governments.
However, the Grangemouth workers are not just very determined, they are very angry, and yesterday many of them were demanding that the strike action be continued and that there be no ‘pause for peace’ to help the employer.
The over one million members of Unite, of which the TGWU is now a part, must through their branches and regional organisations spell it out to the Unite leaders, Woodley and Simpson, that they have had enough of the kind of betrayals that both specialised in in the motor industry, where plant after plant has been allowed to close.
The whole of Unite must tell these leaders to start fighting or to make way for leaders who will.
Call an indefinite strike at Grangemouth now!
Bring the whole of Unite out in full support!