Tuesday, 29 April 2008


The strike by workers at the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland is interesting. First of all, it shows that union militancy is gaining ground. I feel this will spread as an economic downturn gathers steam. It always does.
But most interesting for me is the fact that 1200 workers can shut off a third of North Sea oil, and threaten supplies of petrol in Scotland. How is it that so few people can cripple a massive piece of infra-structure so easily?
The answer is Big Biz and its urge towards efficiency. Everything must be big, for that lessens complication and makes the system work easier. Quite true. Except they’ve forgotten the most important part of efficiency – protection from the spanner in the works.

(c) Anthony North, April 2008

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Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Let's all be politically correct. Those workers are protected by the union, so you just can't fire them and start over. Finding the middle of the road is tough. That's what needs to happen though. Unions have a purpose, but mostly they all get out of hand at some point. When that happens the business suffers. It's then that the business has the upper hand. Legally that is. Have a great day. :)

anthonynorth said...

Hi Sandee,
I don't have a problem with unions as such. In the UK in the 70s they became too militant, bringing the country almost to a standstill. Then they were practically wiped out, and now I don't think they have enough power.
It's a relative kind of thing, I think. But the main problem I have here is the fact that one huge site has so much importance. How easy it is, today, to cripple an infra-structure.