A planned strike at Grangemouth’s petrochemical plant has been called off by union bosses.
The 48-hour strike was scheduled to run from 7 a.m. on Sunday, but Unite representatives pulled the plug on the industrial action in the early hours of this morning after Ineos representatives reportedly walked out of talks at ACAS for the second time in two days.
Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish Secretary, said: “We are outraged that Ineos representatives walked away from ACAS talks, after sixteen hours of negotiation and on the cusp of an agreement, for the ludicrous reason that Ineos Chairman Jim Ratcliffe instructed his management representatives to demand an apology on his behalf.”
The meeting was intended to find a way to resolve the dispute over Stephen Deans, an employee representative on the site, and to prevent the strike. A work-to-rule and overtime ban was already in place at the plant over claims Mr Deans had been treated unfairly by management.
Mr Rafferty added: “Unite offered Ineos every proposal we could practically make, specifically an offer to enter into negotiations under the auspices of ACAS to secure the future of Grangemouth with the immediate call-off of all industrial action and a guarantee of no strikes during these negotiations.
“However at 5 a.m. this morning ACAS representatives informed us we could not conclude an agreement to take to our members because a list of fresh demands were placed upon us and because ‘Jim wants an apology’ and that this was ‘a deal-breaker’.
“I have never come across anything like this in over 30 years of employment relations and it is utterly reprehensible. It is absolutely incredible the future of this site, its workforce, both permanent and contracted employees, and the national interest has been totally compromised by one man’s out of control ego.
“This has serious ramifications for the safety of the site and for the surrounding area. The safety and integrity of the site and the local population are now paramount and we have an obligation to ensure Ineos does not permanently decimate the plant’s assets and the workforce with this cold shutdown.
“As as a result, Unite will now call off all industrial action with immediate effect in order to protect this national asset from the scandalous behaviour of its owner. The plant should now start the return to full production and there is no excuse for this not happen.”
Ineos have yet to make comment on the situation.