A new storm has broken in the ongoing dispute between management and the union at Ineos in Grangemouth.
Unite has accused the company of behaving recklessly by rejecting a request to use the conciliation services of Acas.
The move came on the day Unite held meetings with the Energy Minister Michael Fallon in London and with Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh, in a bid to resolve the row over what it sees as the unfair treatment of official and Ineos employee Stephen Deans.
Unite regional secretary Pat Rafferty said: “It is our view that Ineos is using Stephen Deans and the country’s energy supplies as pawns in some twisted industrial game.
‘‘The company’s inaction will force the union into industrial action which would inevitably put the nation’s fuel supply at risk.
‘‘It will be Ineos’ refusal to engage that will be to blame should this happen. Ineos’ unknown objectives are a mystery to us and it seems intent on confrontation.
“This latest move by Ineos to refuse the opportunity to use the conciliation service Acas to try to resolve this dispute is utterly baffling. Why would Jim Ratcliffe and his team not do everything possible to try to resolve this dispute?
“Management has now also refused Unite union representatives time-off to attend a meeting with the Energy Minister to discuss the dispute, a move which is both highly unusual and destructive.
“The people of Scotland and northern England have a right to be angry and bewildered by this company’s alarming behaviour. Petrol supplies are at risk because this company is behaving with astonishing recklessness.
“If Ineos won’t listen to good sense then we urge senior government ministers in Westminster and Scotland to demand that Ineos goes to Acas and ends the gunboat diplomacy.”
Industrial action at the plant began on Monday and involves a ban on overtime and a work-to-rule.