Scotland,  Toolbox,  Trade Unions

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Tactical Retreat

To be honest, the tactics adopted by Unite against the Ineos Group reminded me of the above. Fortunately, in addition to the jobs of the super-annulated grandees of this trade union, those of the 800 employees at the petrochemical site which a frozen protozoa on Mars would have been able to identify at being at imminent risk from Jim Ratcliffe’s axe as well as the economies of all of Scotland and the North East of England have been saved.

The fate of those of contractors already laid-off remain to be confirmed.

In return, the Ineos Group appear to have gained pretty much all of their desired restructuring package – strike ban, changes to pensions, reduced overtime/bonuses and more – whereas a more circumspect approach by Unite could well have achieved a negotiated settlement, and definitely without the emasculation of trade unionism on site as well as in general across the industrial sector.

The Ineos Group has yet to release its internal investigating report into Stephen Deans, whose suspension provided Unite with the reason to go to strike in order to defend their convenor and Falkirk West CLP chair over a thousand members and double digit percentage points of the regional GDP.

It may have been, as a Unite statement said last month, that Deans did nothing [actionable] in his role on the Falkirk West candidate selection process; which his desire candidate, Karie Murphy – a partner of Unite general secretary –withdraw from following the withdrawal of key evidence, but his disciplinary at work investigation related to apparent revelations that he had been engaged in improper and CLP related activities at work.

Senior union employees typically enjoy corporate level salaries and perks plus considerable clout in national politics not directly related to union work, and senior activists also wield considerable clout. In return, I would have thought it is high time all remembered that they have been elected/appointed first and foremost to serve the shop-floor.

Ultimately, I do not blame Ratcliffe or other hard-nosed corporate buggers for such actions any more than I blame my cat for slaughtering sparrows: it is what they do. I do, however, expect trade unions not to engage in vainglorious attempts to impose their personal political ambitions over industrial disputes playing, in their words of Unite about Ratcliffe, Russian routlette with other people’s jobs.

Completely and utterly snafu. Well done McClusky.