I support completely what the strikers at the Lindsey Total Refinery in Lincolnshire are demanding. Their demands are:
* No victimisation of workers taking solidarity action.
* All workers in UK to be covered by NAECI Agreement.
* Union controlled registering of unemployed and locally skilled union members, with nominating rights as work becomes available.
* Government and employer investment in proper training / apprenticeships for new generation of construction workers - fight for a future for young people.
* All Immigrant labour to be unionised.
* Trade Union assistance for immigrant workers - including interpreters - and access to Trade Union advice - to promote active integrated Trade Union Members.
* Build links with construction trade unions on the continent.
I think the way that the media is covering this dispute is disgusting and very dangerous. They are trying to make the dispute about Labour vs the BNP and 'British jobs for British workers' protectionism vs the EU and free movement of labour.
Just one example, some BNP activists turned up at one of the demos, and the demo had finished by the time they turned up. But even though the demo was nothing to do with them, to the extent that they didn't even know what time it was happening, they still got interviewed by ITV.
Unlike the BNP, the Socialist Party have been actively involved in organising the strikes - they have members on the strike committees, and it was their demands that got adopted by the mass meeting in Lincolnshire. Based on the actual evidence of what is happening, the wider political analysis should be about whether these strikes, partly organised by trade unions and socialist activists, are part of the rise of the socialist left in response to economic crisis (as in Germany and Iceland to name but two countries).
These strikes pit the Labour government against its left-wing critics. Logically, this should lead to a rise in support for the socialists amongst those workers who agree with the strikers.
But the way that the media explains these strikes - in terms of a clash between British and foreign workers - plays into the hands of the fascists and does the work for them which their lack of organisation or roots amongst workers means that they can't do for themselves.
As Paul says, 'what’s happening is just a big load of class stereotyping, and has no actual basis in fact - it’s based on middle class people’s perceptions about how the working classes should react, given the right wing diet of media crap that they’ve been fed for years, and few people actually seem able to countenance that the working classes might actually be more resilient to this crap diet.'