I've just returned from an excellent meeting hosted by the National Shops Stewards network in support of the Coryton oil refinery workers who are facing redundancy if a buyer doesn’t come in and save the site. I blogged about this the other day but the public meeting in Basildon which I have just returned from was well attended with over 100 in attendance from local residents, workers, councillors and trade unionists and socialists. A fighting militant mood for action was felt coming away from the meeting with a public demonstration called by unite and the NSSN tomorrow afternoon at 4 pm outside the department for energy and climate at Whitehall where unite will be meeting with the government and the minister for energy Unite are calling on people supporters trade unionists and all that can get along to show a big turnout to show we mean business in defending Corryton and its workers who will not only loose their jobs but it will loose their local area of south Essex millions if not billions in local revenue annually. This is not just 1000 odd workers lives at stake it’s their families, friends, and local communities too who will feel the knock on.
A linking up with otehr oil refinery's across teh country such as Grangemouth linsey etc will put huge pressure on the powers that be. Mass solidarity is needed to win. Coryton workers know they cannot win on their own and need our support as the organised labour movement.
Throughout the meeting parallels were made between the ex mining towns once the pits had closed the deprivation and the poverty of the areas they simply have never recovered. In the south east of England which is meant to be the hub of the country and its economy this could all unravel if we’re not careful and industry we have in this country could soon disappear completely to be outsourced abroad to a more competitive tender for the boss’s. We must say no and stand up to the government and the boss’s.
The sparks dispute which defeated the boss’s on proposed wage cuts will give workers confidence to take on these vicious boss’s and fill the spirit’s of workers to win and win and win again.
There is potential for this dispute to escalate and the NSSN and the socialist party will support the workers involved every step of the struggle. There is talk of unofficial action being discussed and possibly may happen sooner than we think. It is possible for there to be major disruption to fuel supplies across the country but this is something which will not be publicised as is not strictly legal but is certainly a option being considered to force this government of millionaires to listen. A government who today has granted a contract to Rolls Royce to build the next generation of nuclear submarines which is a huge huge waste of money estimating a cost of a billion pounds. Enough money to save these workers at Coryton their jobs and pay them a decent wage too.
Unfortunately at this meeting it became clear there were a few BNP supporters present and a vote was held to exclude them from the meeting. We must be clear the likes of the BNP and the EDL are no friends of the labour and trade union movement and must be opposed firmly wherever they are. They only look to divide us and drawn on the race card and the chair was right to call a democratic vote and then asking the racists to leave.
So this is the concern if disputes like Coryton are not won and a demoralisation sets in the likes of then are then able to come in and divide workers and use the immigration card which would not be helpful in the slightest. This is not a race issue of course but we must be aware some may look to use it as thus.
Again to remind anyone who can make it
Unite and the NSSN have jointly called a public demonstration tomorrow afternoon at 4 pm outside the Department of Energy and Climate to show solidarity with the workers and the unions looking to put the case for keeping Coryton open. Lets be frank this is just the start of this dispute with further attacks likely to come if not at Coryton then it will be elsewhere. The only way this government will listen to the workers is mass civil disobedience and direct action.
It is important for the NSSN to lend support to private sector struggles aswell as public sector disputes as these age all workers and we must unite the struggles. Unite will be publicising picket dates and dates of action very soon so do keep a eye on the NSSN and Unite pages on the internet if you can.
I am hopeful this campaign can be supported and seen through to a victory for the workers involved.