By now most readers will have seen the news that a set of proposals agreed by the unions and stewards will be put to the workers at Lindsey tomorrow. In my opinion it is likely the strikers will accept the deal, and the secondary actions will vote to return to work by the end of the week.
But there's something missing from the media commentary on the strikes. As CBC pointed out to me last night, when the firefighters were on strike in 2002 the BBC were all over it, reporting every moggy that was stuck up a tree and every minor fire. In 2005 British Airways were hit by their own wildcat action and the £45 million loss this caused them was widely reported. And when the posties walked out in 2007 the press and TV news were full of how many millions the strike was costing Royal Mail. This kind of narrative, which is usually wheeled out every time workers take action, is completely absent this time round. No reports of money lost. No reports of disruption or inconvenience. As the workers involved belong to a 'strategic' section of the working class (especially true of refinery and power station workers), I refuse to believe the actions are having no effect whatsoever.
This is a cross-section of localised reports on the strikes.
Lindsey - According to Total's press release, operating non-stop round-the-clock, the Lindsey Oil Refinery processes around 200,000 barrels of crude everyday. But the nearest we get to disruption comes from Humberside plod, who say it is "impacting on the flow of traffic".
Sellafield - Monday's press release blandly states 900 workers went on strike while Sellafield Ltd employees stayed in. It says "we are confident it will have no impact on safety, security or production."
Drax Power Station - The Press claims the contractors were working on projects ancillary to power generation.
Coryton - About 150 on strike, but again, the local press quote the refinery as business as usual.
Stanlow - Again, no disruption, as all the 500 workers, we are led to believe, are maintenance workers and marginal to operations.
Grangemouth - 700 out, but again, nothing about loss of production.
In addition, the CBI has put nothing I can see on their website, despite several press websites saying it gave Total its backing.
I don't believe in media conspiracies, but this is strange. Are the right wing press keeping it out their pages because, for the moment, they think the protests serve their anti-EU agenda?