Leverage justified to save Grangemouth jobs

WHEN it comes to Unite’s role at Grangemouth, Euan ­McColm appears to have lost ­perspective (Insight, Nov­ember 3).

Had the workers enjoyed the same rights as their Ineos ­colleagues in Germany, praised by chief executive Jim Ratcliffe himself, the Scottish workforce would have been involved in these decisions, not on the rough end of them.

The workforce’s message to their union, Unite, was “save our jobs”. So that is what we did, accepting the company’s demands.

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I am proud to have done so because this is why the fires at Grangemouth burn today.

At the recent mass meeting at the plant, 100 per cent support was voiced for the union, for our shop stewards and our officials by the members there.

As their union leader I am their servant. I answer to them, not to Mr McColm, nor to any other ill-informed section of the media.

Now, let me correct the misconceptions surrounding ­leverage.

Leverage challenges company conduct with clients and customers to force them to take responsibility for the community consequences of their decisions. We use it ­because it works – it has returned sacked men and women to their jobs in the construction and car industries.

Mr McColm muddles leverage and protest. Yes, protests were held to defend the ­workforce but despite the ­media reporting, no children were targeted, no laws were broken.

Failure to stand up to the hysterical attacks from media like the Daily Mail – a paper that spreads hatred and undermines the decent values of this nation – are walking us to a situation whereby the right to protest, the oldest form of democratic expression, is now at risk.

So if I do exhibit “contempt” as Mr McColm accuses, for ­anything, it is for the chronic ill treatment of and lack of support for the working people in this country.

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Too many in the media are failing to do their job and ask “who really stands to gain by the demonisation of Unite?” I fear that the union movement is the last defence for the decent people of this country.

Len McCluskey, general secretary, Unite