Dock workers shut down one of Scotland’s biggest ports, Grangemouth, with a two-week strike from Tuesday in a fight with bosses over new conditions.
Bosses at operator Forth Ports are attempting to impose changes including shift patterns that will force workers into more weekend working.
Crane drivers, fork lift drivers and drivers of “straddle carriers” that move huge containers around the port are “at the end of their tether”, a union official told Socialist Worker.
“People are sick at how they are being treated,” said Unite union official Sandy Smart. “We’ve had a 100 percent vote for a 14-day strike.
“Forth Ports’ plans could see workers doing one weekend in two and could also wipe out overtime for those that want it.”
One worker said, “We aren’t going on strike for extra money, we’re simply trying to keep our family life going. We want to keep seeing our kids at weekends. There are also changes to our pension plans.”
Grangemouth is Scotland’s largest container port, accounting for up to 30 percent of Scotland’s gross domestic product. A shutdown will have a huge impact.
Sandy told Socialist Worker, “We’re not talking about an ultra militant workforce here but it’s the company’s attitude that is to blame for this.
We’ve been in talks for up to a year but now they are just pressing ahead with imposition.”
Tam Conroy is the Unite chair of the Scottish tanker drivers’ branch. He told Socialist Worker, “This imposition mirrors what the Tories are doing to the junior doctors and what is happening to college lecturers in Scotland.
“The Tories are already attacking our rights with the Trade Union Bill.
“I’ll be urging all of our members to give full support to the dock workers. Our only weapon as workers is our numbers.”