On the way home from an evening meeting last night the Streets of Seaford, Newhaven, Peacehaven and Brighton seemed full of young men and women who were reclaiming the night in their own way. Dressed as zombies and in other forms of fancy dress Halloween has become a major night in the British Calendar, with over 2 Million Pumpkins sold by Tesco alone. There could not have been a worse night in the year for Len Mcclusky to be pontificating about what constitutes Bullying and Harassment, or to use his rather inept term leverage. Some of my neighbours were delighted to welcome groups of young children calling for their share of a dentists ransom, and some would have felt harassed and possibly bullied by children as young as 4 or 5. We don’t live in the sort of housing estate that I imagine the INEOS exectutives would be familiar with. However we have the sort of community Spirit that has ensured that the groups of trick and treaters now only call on the homes where they will be welcome. A few years ago things were different, there was no discrimination and some of my neighbours felt very disturbed.
It is completely inappropriate for a man who is at the head of an organisation that is supposed to protect workers from bullying and harassment in the workplace, to pretend that he knows what constitutes harassement and bullying when it is meted out by his own members on innocent residents. I am sure that Mr Mccluskey would not find large rats and banner waving workers intimidating outside his own residence, but that is not sufficient grounds for him to act as judge on behalf of others. If some of my neighbours can be intimidated by the behaviour of toddlers, it is probable that some people would be intimidated and feel bullied by the behaviour of the UNITE protestors.
It seems clear from the news reports that both UNITE and INEOS have handled the Grangemouth dispute badly, but whatever the case with the INEOS executives, their families do not deserve to be intimidated and bullied. It is time that people like Len Mccluskey are held to account for what they say, just as he wants to hold Jim Ratcliffe to account for what he has said and done. None of the 4-5 year old trick and treaters have any intention of intimidating my neighbours, but they are unable to spot the difference between someone willingly handing over sweets, and someone whose response is based on insecurity. That is why we as neighbours have taken it upon ourselves to work out how to protect the vulnerable and give the children access to the treats. It is time for Len and his well paid colleagues to take responsibility for their actions and avoid losing the moral and political high ground when they want to bring justice to their members.