written by bendygirl at Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I hadn't heard about this (and it's from April!!) until I wandered over to Fire On The Mountain
The strike is a direct byproduct of the same financial jiggery-pokery that has given us the deepening credit crisis. BP used to own the whole shebang and still operates it all, but they sold the Forties Field to a company called Apache and the Grangemouth refinery to a private equity fund called Ineos, keeping the pipeline.
Ineos, which borrowed over nine billion pounds for this and other investments, found that even soaring oil prices aren't enough in a difficult economic climate. Trying to squeeze the maximum possible return out, they announced the start of a two tier pension system, with new hires getting the shaft. (As here in the States with a tumbling stock market--net return in Britain since 2000=zero--and with other investments, like CDOs, doing even worse, pension funds are turning up seriously underfunded, and corporate executives really, really don't want to have to make up the difference.)
Unite said "Nope." (Well, it's Scotland. They probably said "Nae.") The two day walkout is estimated to have cost the UK economy about US$100 million a day, and production will take another six days to ramp up to normal. In Scotland, the Edinburgh bus system threatened to shut down due to a "reprioritized" fuel supply and widespread gasoline hoarding and price gouging were reported. In the UK, the opposition Tories are trying to make political hay demanding the government step in to force a settlement. Globally, it's one more ratchet up on oil prices.
1300 workers. Two days. And best of all,
For more on what lead up to the strike and its success, take a trip over to the oil drum. It's an amazing read and well worth it with the protests now going on in Europe over fuel.