News digest 18 October 2013

News digest 18 October 2013

18 October 2013

The Ineos dispute continues to dominate the day’s news as the company pleaded poverty and said that it had to attack workers’ terms and conditions in order to survive. This was despite the fact that the company’s chemical operations reported a 50 per cent rise in sales to £288 million last year, as well as a jump in profits to £151 million. You kind of wonder where the money has gone, but then perhaps the billionaire owner of Ineos Jim Ratcliffe knows? Following the Ineos announcement Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “This is cynical blackmail from a company that is putting a gun to the heads of its loyal workforce to slash pay, pensions and jobs. We are considering taking legal action over the company’s menacing tactics and urge members not to be threatened into signing their livelihoods away. It is increasingly clear that the company is deliberately generating a dispute and hiding behind fancy accounting to attack its own workforce. Menaces and threats will not secure the future of Grangemouth which now rests in the hands of a few faceless unaccountable shareholders. We will not allow such an important national asset to be held to ransom and urge Ineos to drop the blackmail and engage meaningfully with the workforce over a transitional agreement.” Unlike the Grangemouth plant which is still on shutdown at the moment it looks like this one will run and run…

And on the subject of fuel and fires following SSE’s lead last week, British Gas yesterday announced energy price rises for UK domestic customers from 23 November. The increase will see a dual fuel bill going up by 9.2 per cent and includes an 8.4 per cent rise in gas prices and a 10.4 per cent increase in electricity prices. Commenting, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "The British Gas announcement … is simply cruel. People will be terrified about the winter ahead. Never mind the dilemma about heating and eating - with the cost of both running so far ahead of incomes, the most needy won't be able to do either. The big six energy companies need reining in by government, not fine words empty of action. Ed Davey’s ‘disappointment' will not keep people warm this winter." Time for someone to analyse the accounts properly as prices (and executive pay) only ever seem to rise while – according to the Milburn report into social mobility - the working poor are not only increasingly on the breadline, but have no chance of moving up, not good for anyone’s health. Speaking of which the Mirror reports private firms are botching NHS operations, the Telegraph says the NHS is almost bankrupt, while the Indie notes that health secretary Jeremy Hunt ‘sneaked in’ a new law minutes before Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier that will make it easier to close hospital wards, same old Tories…

  Morning Star

  • United against Gove’s vision (p1) [teachers’ strike]
  • Grangemouth bosses could face legal action over tactics (p2) – Unite/Pat Rafferty cited
  • Greedy British Gas demands more dosh (p3)
  • Benefit cuts spark demo (p3) – Unite/Pilgrim Tucker cited
  • Report says work ‘is no cure for poverty’ (p4)
  • Loan sharks should fund credit unions (p4)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Energy crisis campaign (p1/4-5)
  • Militant unions cost economy £400 million with strikes (p14)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Lib Dems like a wonky trolley, says axed minister (p1)
  • Shop around for cheaper bills says Cameron (p2)
  • Teachers may takes strikes into new year (p15)
  • Steepest fall in (car) fuel prices for five years (p35)
  • Barclays faces fresh allegations over Libor scandal (p62)
  • Ineos accused of blackmailing workers 9p67) – Unite/Pat Rafferty cited




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Rucker exits bank of England with shadow bank alert (p1)
  • Cable upbeat on business bank (p2)
  • Milburn calls on business to halt decline of social mobility (p4)
  • Salmond meets Ineos and Unite over Grangemouth dispute (p4) – Unite cited
  • Goldman slashes bonus pool (p19)
  • Weak African trade sours Diageo sales (p21
  • Serco set to clearout senior UK team (p25))

  Edited by Mik Sabiers

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