David Prosser: Total's ominous message
Wednesday 24 June 2009
Outlook There was, no doubt, an element of brinkmanship in yesterday's statements from Total on its troubled project to extend the Lindsey oil refinery at Grimsby. The French company said the project was six months behind schedule, £100m over budget and plagued by low productivity. Still, we should worry about the hint of menace from a company that is, after all, investing in Britain.
Total's message to intransigent workers was "don't push us too far or we'll pull the plug altogether". The company, which has sacked 900 workers following wildcat strikes, will also hope ministers were listening – just about the last thing Britain needs right now is for the few overseas companies still spending money here to pack up and go home. Another reading of Total's statement might be that it doesn't think much of British workers, which may be one reason why it is happy for its contractors to import foreign labour into the UK, even if it causes political strife.
This is dangerous territory. We cannot countenance foreign companies holding us to ransom, demanding changes to labour market laws, or that workers do not ever moan about anything. But a neutral's reading of this dispute would favour Total, and we should take its complaints seriously.
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
London council removes 'unacceptable' Stamford Hill posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
iJobs Money & Business
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...