STUC on Energy Workers’ Strike Action

February 2nd 2009

Commenting on the wave of unofficial strikes in response to the situation at Lindsey Oil Refinery in North Lincolnshire Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary, Grahame Smith, said:

“With the economy continuing to deteriorate and unemployment rising swiftly, it is entirely understandable that workers are increasingly insecure about their future employment prospects. Workers have observed the Banks being bailed out at monumental expense to the public purse and rightly feel frustrated when proportionate requests for fair employment regulation are summarily dismissed by politicians who are only too pleased to play the protectionist card when it suits them.

“The drive for labour market flexibility at UK and European level has led to an increase in short-term contracts, agency work and subcontracting. Labour market deregulation is the key factor underlying the exponential rise in economic inequality. Support for a fairer, more sustainable economy cannot be reconciled with a race to the bottom in employment rights.

“The strong and longstanding support of European trade unions for the free movement of labour has been jeopardised by recent decisions of the European Court of Justice which have licensed employers to use posted workers to undercut collective agreements. Urgent remedial action is required including the introduction of a social progress protocol in the next treaty and a strengthening of the Posted Workers Directive. The UK Government, so often the barrier to progressive change in Europe, should signal a new direction of travel by supporting both issues.

ENDS

For further information contact Stephen Boyd Assistant Secretary STUC 0141 337 8100

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