Shell boycott urged in union recognition row

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

CONSUMERS were urged yesterday to boycott Shell petrol in protest at the removal of trade union bargaining rights at the company's refineries and distribution depots.

Leaders of the Transport and General Workers' Union said Shell was at the forefront of co-ordinated action by the oil companies to derecognise all trade unions.

Fred Higgs, the union's national secretary, said: 'It does not need a big reduction in their sales to be effective . . . If the same company wanted to do the same thing elsewhere in Europe, they would fall foul of the law.'

Union recognition has been withdrawn in the past two years from more than 30 per cent of the industry's 20,000 workforce.

BP, Mobil and Esso have also de-recognised groups of workers but Shell had been chosen for the boycott because of plans to remove bargaining rights at the company's Shell Haven refinery, Essex.

Shell said it did not have a general policy of derecognition. A spokesman said the situation at Shell Haven was 'precarious' and a radical restructuring of working arrangements was needed.