Unite members in the Ineos oil refinery in Grangemouth are voting on whether to take industrial action in defence of senior shop steward Stevie Deans. Unite is calling for a ‘yes’ vote.
Stevie is chairperson of Falkirk Labour Party. He was suspended in June after national party officials raised allegations that Unite in Falkirk had signed up people to be party members without their knowledge and had forged their signatures on direct debit instructions.
On Ed Miliband’s instructions, the dossier containing the allegations was handed over to the police.
All this was a gift for Ineos management. They claimed that Stevie’s (alleged) involvement in the bogus recruitment of Labour Party members undermined their trust and confidence in him.
Stevie was suspended by Ineos. But the company quickly backed down and lifted the suspension in the face of a threat of strike action at the plant.
Since then the police have dropped their investigation, on the basis that there is nothing to investigate.
Stevie has been re-instated as a Labour Party member, on the basis that there was no wrong-doing by Unite in its recruitment of Labour Party members.
And an internal investigation by Ineos also found that Stevie had no case to answer.
Even so, Ineos is continuing to target Stevie. As a Unite press release puts it:
“Unite is deeply concerned that, irrespective of these facts, Ineos is continuing with a sinister campaign of victimisation against an innocent employee. He could be sacked if the company rules against him.”
"A culture of fear is settling at the site, reflected by the targeting of an innocent man and attempts to intimidate workers out of taking action to support a long-standing colleague and loyal co-worker.
"Unite will not tolerate an attack on its shop stewards, so we are balloting for industrial action. If this attack is allowed to go ahead the company will come back for more, so we urge our members at Grangemouth to stand up for their union."
Ineos’ ongoing victimisation of Stevie underlines just how poisonous were the contents of the dossier falsely alleging irregularities in the recruitment of Labour Party members in Falkirk.
Labour Party officials not only called in the police to investigate Unite members. They also helped employers to try to set up Unite members for dismissal. So much for ‘mending, not ending’ Labour’s links with the unions.