Fears Ineos sacking could spark new crisis

Mark Lyon is the latest high profile union member to leave Ineos. Picture: Michael Gillen (132736_0059)
Mark Lyon is the latest high profile union member to leave Ineos. Picture: Michael Gillen (132736_0059)

A petrochemical giant could be headed for another crisis after the departure of a second high-ranking union official.

Union Unite launched legal action over the sacking of Grangemouth site convenor Mark Lyon, accusing Ineos of hypocrisy.

An insider at the firm claimed Mr Lyon’s dismissal could be the last straw for many employees.

He said: “Ineos is about to implode. The atmosphere at the site is terrible.”

Mr Lyon, who had worked for the company for 25 years, was dismissed on Tuesday for supposedly failing to stop his union colleagues from commenting in the press over fears of job losses at the plant on December 2 last year.

Mr Lyon said he could not comment on the matter, which Unite is appealing against on grounds of unfair dismissal.

Ineos stated: “This is a confidential issue between the company and Mr Lyon.”

The sacking follows the resignation of Unite’s other Grangemouth convenor Stevie Deans last year and comes just days after Ineos dropped its defamation claim over Unite’s accusations the company had victimised Mr Deans.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “The rank hypocrisy of Ineos knows no bounds. It withdrew its defamation action against Unite to ‘draw a line under the dispute’, yet, at the same time, it was drafting a letter dismissing a Unite convenor.

“We urge Ineos to think again. This is not a time for further unrest. Ineos need to get the workforce on side to deliver a successful future.”

Those feelings were shared by local representatives in the Scottish and UK Parliaments.

East Falkirk Michael Connarty tabled an early day motion in Westminster stating his “serious concern over the anti-trade union behaviour of Ineos” and called for Mr Lyon’s immediate reinstatement.

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said: “Very little seems to have been learned from last year’s dispute.

“Ineos must cease their strong arm tactics otherwise they will lose any goodwill they retain from the people of Grangemouth and Falkirk district.”