Confusion on the wildcat strikes
What is the government's view of the wildcat strikes? Clearly, ministers want them to stop but do they think the strikers have a point or not? Listen to different ministers and you get different answers.
Cabinet minister and former union leader Alan Johnson told the BBC on Sunday morning that "I can understand the anger" of the strikers. He went on to suggest that new EU directives were needed "to make it absolutely clear that people can't be undercut in this way" so that "we don't allow this kind of dumbing down".
Hours later, Peter Mandelson said that the firm involved - Total - has made clear that there is no discrimination against British workers, either in the form of their wages being undercut or them being excluded from applying for jobs. What's more, he said that the issue of European law is quite separate from this dispute.
The unions are concerned that recent court rulings make it impossible to defend their members from the threat of cheap labour coming from abroad. They point to the case of a Latvian company, Laval, which had a contract to build schools in Sweden. Laval claimed that its freedom to use a Latvian workforce was being inhibited by attempts to block the move by Swedish unions. Its complaint was upheld in the European Court of Justice.
Business ministers are not challenging this judgement or pushing for new directives, but are merely awaiting a report from the European Commission on the effects of the ruling.
It would only be relevant to the current British dispute if there were evidence of discrimination against British workers - which Lord Mandelson insists there isn't.
This morning, Lord Mandelson suggested that the confusion was simply a matter of timing - in other words, that his cabinet colleague was simply talking before the facts were made clear by the employer.
Somehow I doubt that will quite solve the problem.