John Cameron (Letters, 5 November) charges me with muddying the waters in my recent letter relating to the Grangemouth dispute. May I point out that I was actually responding to the letters of two correspondents, one of whom equated trade unionists with Marxists, while the other referred to the “Chinese comrades” of the union members.
The basis of my argument was that, for some people, trade unions are inherently subversive, no matter how legitimate their cause. The use of “leverage” tactics by Unite is an entirely different matter, and does not negate the main thrust of my argument.
While I agree that it must have been a most unpleasant experience for those concerned, I do take issue with the kind of language which Mr Cameron (and certain elements of the press) uses to describe what took place.
He describes the union members involved as a “bellowing mob”, which evokes images of an unruly throng of pitchfork-wielding peasants baying for the blood of the aristocracy.
The hazy photograph circulating in the media showed the men standing at the bottom of the family’s driveway, not “invading the garden”, and I’m fairly sure their intention was not “to terrify the family’s small children”, as Mr Cameron asserts.
The police who were called by neighbours obviously agreed, since no charges were made against the pickets, who were deemed to be acting within the law, however questionable their actions may be considered to be.
My view is that public sympathy for their cause has been damaged by this incident, which is a pity, since it has overshadowed the news that Ineos intends to sack the 665 employees who said “no” to the proposed changes to their terms and conditions, and to re-instate them as new employees getting the reduced pension.
Those who said “yes” will be placed automatically onto the higher paying scheme. This does not bode well for harmonious working relationships at the plant.