Fawley oil refinery: the fight for equal pay, the fight against national divisions

Cautiously pessimistic

Workers at a previous strike at Fawley

A planned strike at Fawley oil refinery has been called off after bosses agreed to a new pay deal that will put an end to the situation of foreign workers earning less than half the wages of British workers employed on the same site. Workers complained that “Nico workers, mainly Bulgarians and Italians, were being paid about £48 for a 10 hour-day, while the 270 other workers on the site, employed by other contractors, were on about £125-a-day. British workers employed by Nico were also paid the £125-a-day rate.”

On the face of it, this is obviously great news in itself. Any time workers fight for better pay and win it, it’s worth celebrating. But what’s more important here is what it shows about the real, material foundations of things like racism, nationalism and international solidarity. These things aren’t just nice or nasty ideas that nice or nasty people…

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