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Oil refinery strike is finally over

The unofficial strike action at the Lindsay oil refinery is finally over today with news that Total has reached an amicable agreement with the unions and contractors on the site. As a consequence all sacked employees have returned to work and sympathetic strike action across the UK has now ended. The illegal and unofficial strike action has now cost Total in the region of €100 million which effectively forced the company to backtrack on an early decision to sack hundreds of workers.

The company has blamed contractors on the site for creating a situation which should have been nipped in the bud at a very early stage but was allowed to grow and grow. It is fair to say that the whole saga has shown the fickle nature of the UK employment market and the growing strength of the unions who stepped in to try and mediate between the various parties. There are new concerns that unions in UK now see the successful outcome at the Lindsay oil refinery as a template for employee v employer conflicts in the future.

While there is no suggestion that the UK government became involved at any stage there must have been some behind-the-scenes negotiations as potentially the whole UK power supply system could have come to a standstill.

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