These cow-boy bosses need to be taught a lesson

21 April 2008

Ineos, the owner of the Grangemouth oil refinery, is threatening to cut North-Sea oil supplies to Scotland and the North of England for weeks, should the refinery's 1,200 workers go ahead with a 48-hour strike planned for 27 and 28 April.

This strike is a response to Ineos' plan to close the refinery workers' pension scheme to new entrants and to cut pensions for existing members. This is all the more scandalous as Ineos has already cut the fund's value by £40m using an accounting trick and reduced its contribution. As if a company which is the world's third largest chemical group, with over £400m profit last year, could not afford decent pensions for its workers!

Ineos' threat is outrageous blackmail and, what is more, based on a lie. There are 70 days worth of fuel reserves in Britain and even if Ineos closed the refinery for a week or more, this would still not threaten supplies - that is, provided the government does its job of ensuring that the reserves are used.

Above all, Ineos is trying to use public opinion to force workers into agreeing to this daylight robbery of their pensions. And the Grangemouth workers are right not to fall for this. They really deserve all of our support.