Workers blast 'bizarre' plans for Grangemouth to become a Scottish Freeport
Proposals to turn the Port of Grangemouth into a Scottish Freeport have been dismissed by workers and trade unions as a “bizarre concept”.
An emergency motion at the local Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) last week viewed the Scottish Government's plans for a so-called Greenport at Grangemouth as a negative move.
Delegates heard the Greenport concept bears a remarkable similarity with the Freeport idea, which has been reportedly associated with money laundering, tax evasion and trafficking.
The STUC motion, proposed by Unite the Union, said Freeports have been tried unsuccessfully in other parts of the world and rejected by the EU as a model which only benefits the businesses running the Freeport rather than improving the economy of the community at large – the UK Government’s main selling point for the idea.
The motion also states Freeports encourage relocation of existing businesses and jobs from other parts of the area to the Freeport zone, and can facilitate criminality due to the lack of of regulation.
An STUC spokesman said: “We agreed the Scottish Government must provide firm commitments to protect workers’ rights and guarantee Trade Union recognition, declare how these will be delivered and bring forward legislation to protect the environment of the area for the benefit of those who live there.”
Sandy Sharp, Unite industrial officer, added: “In talks with the Scottish Government trade minister it became clear there is very little difference between a Freeport and a Greenport.
"No guarantees can be given to protect the living standards and employment rights of those who end up living and working in one of these so-called economic zones.”