Weekend strike at Grangemouth plant still on as Ineos leave talks

Pat Rafferty of the Unite union.
Pat Rafferty of the Unite union.
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Talks between Ineos and Unite the union stalled yesterday when the petrochemical giant left the meeting at ACAS in Glasgow.

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 48 hour strike planned to run from Sunday.

There is already a work-to-rule and overtime ban at the local plant over union claims Mr Deans has been treated unfairly by management.

Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary, said: “Ineos management effectively imposed an adjournment on today’s mediation at 8 p.m. by leaving the meeting - very much a case of last-in, first-out.

“We are very disappointed matters could not be progressed this evening particularly as we presented a number of proposals in a bid to resolve this dispute and we were prepared to work throughout the night if need be.

“At this point in time, it seems Ineos management are more concerned about heading back to Grangemouth to continue with the cold shutdown of the site rather than working with us here at ACAS to keep the site open.

“Further talks are scheduled for this afternoon, but we are approaching them more in hope than any great expectation.”

Ineos, having now started the costly process of shutting the plant down in anticipation of the action, said it regretted Unite’s decision to give outside comment while the arbitration process is ongoing but said it is determined to do all it can to ensure these discussions have a positive outcome.

Calum MacLean, Grangemouth Petrochemicals chairman, said: “We came to ACAS in good faith and remain determined to resolve the issues facing us if at all possible. Unfortunately, Unite seems determined to insist on one rule for union officials and one rule for everyone else which is completely unacceptable to the company.

“It also seems determined to ignore the fact that a strike could destroy Grangemouth and cause significant damage to the whole of Scotland.”