The owner of petrochemical giant Ineos has poured more fuel onto the fiery conflict between management and union at the Grangemouth plant.
Jim Ratcliffe branded union representatives “thugs” and “bullies” over incidents which happened during last year’s bitter dispute between the company and Unite which led to the threatened closure of the plant.
Mr Ratcliffe’s passed his comments and views on “failings” in existing UK industrial law to the independent Carr Review, which has been tasked by the UK government to look into “extreme” union activities.
Ineos is calling on the UK government to make it a criminal offence for trade unions to use intimidation and bullying tactics against individuals, claiming Unite used “leverage” against Ineos staff and suppliers during last year’s industrial dispute.
Mr Ratcliffe said: “We cannot tolerate the thuggish intimidation of managers, suppliers and customers by out-of-control unions. Last year, one of the UK’s largest industrial sites nearly closed down because of reckless union actions. We work with unions across the world. All we are asking is that UK unions accept they have a duty to behave in a proper and responsible way.”
The company urged the government to make it law there should be unlimited civil liability for damages resulting from unlawful union actions that target individuals, suppliers and customers.
Ineos also called for the introduction of a law to extend the notice period that has to be given by trade union before they go on strike from seven to twenty-one days to limit the safety risks associated with unplanned shutdowns.
Unite said Jim Ratcliffe’s intervention was “unhelpful” at a time when the plant is continuing to work to its survival plan A spokesman said: “We are disappointed Mr Ratcliffe takes this view, particularly as we, on behalf of the workforce, are working so hard to rebuild relationships at this crucial juncture for Grangemouth.”