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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