Grangemouth

Grangemouth: Another provocation

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A chorus of condemnation has greeted David Cameron's launch of an inquiry into trade union tactics in the wake of the Grangemouth affair.

Unite the Union has described it as a Tory election stunt and rightly called for a refusal to cooperate with it.

Frances O'Grady of the TUC said that it is "simply part of the Conservative Party's general election campaign" and even SNP leader Alex Salmond has suggested that it "was entirely about seeking electoral advantage". These responses are fine as far as they go.

Making the case for left unity

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The Left Unity initiative has attracted significant interest and a founding conference is taking place at the end of November. Socialist Review invited Andrew Burgin, a supporter, to put the case for why the left needs a new party.

On 30 November a new party of the working class will be launched in Britain. There is little disagreement among socialists that such a party is necessary. What will be its aims and what will be its chances of success?

Crisis management, dirty tactics

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The idea that you can't take on multinational capitalism and win has been given a boost by the outcome at Grangemouth.

We'll never know for sure whether the threat to close the petrochemical plant was real or not. But Grangemouth's local boss, Calum MacLean, gave us an insight into owners Ineos's game plan when he claimed that if Unite "had taken the position they took in the last two days [to accept the 'survival plan'] a week ago we might never have come to this".

After Grangemouth

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The threatened closure of the petrochemical plant at Grangemouth and the aftermath of the dispute have opened up a crucial debate inside the labour movement.

Is it no longer possible, even for a union as strong as Unite with 1.4 million members, to take on big capital and win in the face of neoliberalism? Are multinational companies like Ineos now just too powerful? Do the anti-union laws tie the hands of the unions and make resisting the threat of cuts and closures impossible?

Shell tanker drivers' strike - oil on troubled waters

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"The Shell drivers have driven a coach and horses through the Brown and Darling pay freeze," said Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Unite, after the Shell tanker drivers won a 14 percent pay deal last month.

A host of commentators explained how it was inevitable they would win: "exceptional case... small group... concentration of power... strategic weak spot... essential resource..." Essential bollocks! No one claimed inevitable victory before the strike (or it wouldn't have happened, would it?)

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