Walkouts at Grangemouth Oil Refinery and Amazon as UK strike wave escalates

Hundreds of contractors at the Ineos petrochemical plant in Grangemouth, Scotland, went on a wildcat wage strike on Wednesday, blocking access to the refinery for three hours after walking out at 7am.

Workers employed by several contractors opposed a 2.5 per cent wage increase for this year and the same figure for next year. This is effectively a 10 percent pay cut, while inflation is expected to reach 13 percent in a few weeks.

The savage action comes as Amazon warehouse and fulfillment center workers continue a nationwide series of work stoppages and protests sparked last week to oppose a 35-50 pence hike in the hour at sites in Tilbury, Coventry, Rugeley, Bristol, Coalville, Dartford, Belvedere, Hemel Hempstead and Chesterfield.

On the eve of a new round of strikes this week in the railways, more strikes have been announced in other key sectors.

In what could be one of the most economically devastating strikes, 1,900 dockworkers at the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company will walk out for eight days between August 21 and 29 to signal their rejection of a 7 percent plus a £500 bonus. Felixstowe is Britain’s busiest container port, handling 48 percent of the country’s containers. A strike would impact national supply chains, the logistics and road transport sectors, as well as international maritime trade.

On Saturday, train drivers from the ASLEF union will strike for 24 hours in protest over wages and working conditions, and will hit Arriva Rail London, Avanti West Coast, Crosscountry, Greater Anglia (including Stansted Express), Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, London Overground, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains.

Strikers picket during the recent national railway strike at Cowlairs maintenance depot in Springburn, north of Glasgow, on June 25, 2022 [Photo: WSWS] [Photo: WSWS]

Two more days of strike action by 40,000 rail workers against Network Rail and more than a dozen rail companies called by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are scheduled for August 18 and 20. 2,500 members of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, including controllers and electrical control room operators employed by Network Rail and members of the Unite union, will also strike on those days.

10,000 London Underground workers – members of the RMT – are set to stage a 24-hour pension strike on August 19, joined by 400 London Overground workers employed by Arriva Rail London.

More than 1,600 London United bus drivers, members of Unite, are also set to strike on August 19 and 20 in protest at a pay rise of just 3.6 per cent in 2022 and 4.2 per cent l ‘next year. A strike by Arriva North West bus drivers, members of Unite, is in its third week.

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