East Falkirk MP accuses Ineos of bid to kill off union

Michael Connarty speaking at a Unite rally
Michael Connarty speaking at a Unite rally

A petrochemical giant’s use of employee works councils has been branded one more way to “kill the trade union”.

East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty said Ineos’ introduction of multiple works councils at its Grangemouth site after last year’s shutdown crisis, showed the firm was trying to drive union representation out of the plant.

He said: “Works councils have a legitimacy in the public sector, but not the private sector. It’s a way of breaking down the trade unions. Ineos has placed lackeys of its choosing onto forums which don’t have any power and do not represent the workers.

“They are trying to kill the trade union.”

Union Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said he was aware of Ineos’ use of works councils, but they were not replacing union representatives.

“We are the single union registered by Ineos for collective bargaining on issues like pay and conditions,” he said. “Works councils do not take that away from the union. I do share some of Michael’s concerns about them, however, as they have been known to take on the issues normally dealt with by the union.”

Ineos said: “We have a collective agreement with the trade unions. In addition, the site has works councils that consists of individuals covering those staff not in the collective bargaining arrangements, as well as staff who are within the collective bargaining agreement.

“It is important to us that all sections of staff have an opportunity to be part of the works councils.”