Workers on the second day of their two-day strike over pensions at the giant Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland yesterday remained defiant and determined to win.
Pickets, angry at plans of the refinery’s private equity owners Ineos to end final salary pensions for new entrants, shouted ‘shame on you Jim Ratcliffe’.
The strikers, members of the Unite (TGWU section) trade union made it clear that they see the company moving to end final salary pensions for existing employees as well.
One striker was asked: ‘Is there a lot of anger towards Jim Ratcliffe?’
He replied: ‘No there’s not anger towards him, not at all.
‘We’re in dispute with the man, not angry with him.’
Reminded that they were shouting ‘shame on you Jim Ratcliffe,’ the striker added, referring to the Ineos boss’s £2.3bn personal fortune: ‘He’s got that much money and all we want is a couple of million pounds to be put into our pension fund so we can’t lose out in the long term.’
A Unite spokeswoman told News Line that the strike was solid but there was no offer of talks from Ineos.
Asked what next, would there be an overtime ban as previously reported, she said: ‘There are no plans for further industrial action.’
Meanwhile, Unite national officer, Phil McNulty, echoed Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley’s statement after last Friday’s mass meeting that there will be ‘a pause for peace’ after the strike.
At midday yesterday the first of seven tankers began unloading their portion of 65,000 tonnes of fuel imported from Europe.
The strikers are due to return to work at 6am today.
But the strike has also closed BP’s key Forties oil pipeline, which provides 30% of the UK’s daily oil output from the North Sea, and it will take days to restore full supplies.
Scotlands SNP First Minister, Alex Salmond, has called for both sides in the dispute to hold talks to resolve it as quickly as possible.
Malcolm Webb, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, urged Westminster ministers to intervene to get the Forties pipeline operational again.
He said: ‘We are calling on the government now to get involved in this and bring these two parties together.
‘The government is the biggest single loser in all of this. Over £1m an hour is being lost in tax while this pipeline is down.’