The proposal, which was announced by the company at noon today, will see Petroineos mothball its Crude Oil Distillation Unit, CDU 1, and Fluidised Catalytic Cracker Unit, which it stated had been closed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due to “significantly reduced local and international demand for fuels.”
The significantly smaller refining operation at Grangemouth will require 450 jobs – meaning around 200 employees could be let go.
Consultations with employees are scheduled to start on Monday, November 16.
Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn hopes the local authoritiy’s economic recovery plan will be of assistance to the company, the workers and the local community at this dark time.
She said: “We are obviously concerned at this announcement and are keen to work with the company, Scottish Government and other partners to help reduce the impact for the community.
“We recognise the challenging impact COVID-19 is having for business and our communities. We have established an economic recovery plan which will help to tackle the effects of the pandemic and look towards the area’s future prospects where we believe the refinery can continue to play an important part.
“Petroineos is a valued partner in these plans and we will work with them to help sustain the opportunities at their site over the longer term.”
Responding to today’s announcement, Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said it was “particularly disheartening”.
He said: “Businesses across the globe are experiencing significant difficulties due to the impact of COVID-19 and it is never easy to hear that there could be job losses.
“However, today’s announcement Petroineos are about to consult on up to 200 redundancies is particularly disheartening, and my thoughts are with the workers at the plant in Grangemouth who could be affected by these changes.
“I am seeking urgent information from the Scottish Government, and know they have been in touch with the company to offer assistance in the form of PACE, and I understand Falkirk Council have offered to meet with Petroineos to see how they can be supported as they move through this particularly challenging period – and I have also offered my input into those discussions.
“As the world moves through the pandemic, and the call for more sustainable energy becomes increasingly loud, there must be consideration of a just transition while ensuring that employment and jobs are maintained and sustained as we go forward on a greener and cleaner pathway.
“I will do all I can in my position to ensure this pathway remains clear, and new opportunities for employment are explored and found in the very near future. As ever, advice and assistance is available to anyone affected by today’s announcement from my office and from other partners working hard to mitigate the impacts of these potential job losses on the workers who stand to be most affected.”
Following today’s announcement Franck Demay, CEO of Petroineos Refining, said: “We firmly believe that only by taking action now will we preserve one of Scotland’s last large manufacturing sites and a significant contributor to the Scottish economy.”