Thursday, 24 April 2008

Now some bad news - Grangemouth strike still on

They say Ross Finnie has more than a passing resemblance to Captain Mainwaring from Dad's Army. Today we saw Eck Salmond taking on the Corporal Jones role of running around in turmoil shouting "Don't panic!" to the people of Scotland. When Eck tells me not to panic and not to panic buy fuel, my initial response is to panic, but not to panic buy fuel 'cos I don't have a car and can't drive.

Seriously though, this dispute at Grangemouth is getting very, very worrysome. We now have the company, Ineos, suing the union, Unite, over claims that the pension fund had been raided to the tune of £40 Million. Talks at ACAS have also broken down, the Grangemouth shut-down continues and the strikes on Sunday and Monday are still on the cards.

The dispute is centred on Ineos plans to change the current Final Salary pension scheme. The wish to close membership to any new employees and pay 6% per annum to the existing 1/60th salary scheme. The union has said that company will be penalising employees for taking early retirement and in a strike ballot got the endorsement of 97% of their 1250 Grangemouth employees. As far as I can see one side is being as intransigent as the other and no-one seems much interested in compromise.

All the trade organisation, the Scottish Government and the Westminster Government have said that as long as people don't panic then we have nearly 70 days worth of supply left. Sadly they are all being unrealistic - we now live in a much more self centred society (thanks Thatcher you auld hag) and people will simply put their own needs first.

My solution: well there's the nub. People won't stop panicking until there is settlement of the dispute. My suggestion is that both sides go back to ACAS and accept their decision as legally binding. It seems the only feasible way out. Other ideas and opinions welcome.

The other possible solution would be bang the two sets of heads together until they see some bloody sense!

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