Union refuse to give Ineos ‘no strike’ guarantee at Grangemouth site

The stand-off between Unite and Ineos continues
The stand-off between Unite and Ineos continues

Petrochemical giant Ineos stated it would restart the Grangemouth site if it received a guarantee there will be no further industrial action of any kind.

The company want the guarantee to last throughout the 60 day consultation period for the Ineos Survival Plan for the site, but Unite has reportedly refused to give such a guarantee.

Calum Maclean, Grangemouth Chairman said: “Unite’s response is unbelievable given how much effort has been put into securing this deal with ourselves, the Scottish and the UK governments all working hard to find a way forward. We will now concentrate on discussing the Survival Plan with our staff during the 60 day consultation.

“We have been very clear for compelling safety reasons, we cannot restart the site until we know the risk of further industrial action has been removed. We can confirm we would restart if there was a clear guarantee there would be no further action during the next 60 days.”

Unite is currently in dispute with the firm over a number of issues, including the perceived mistreatment of union convener and Ineos employee Stephen Deans. Earlier in the week Unite called off a 48 hour strike proposed to begin on Sunday.

The union urged Grangemouth workers not to give into the “menacing” tactics of Ineos to sign away their rights, saying it was looking to take legal action over the company’s “sign or be sacked” ultimatum to slash jobs, pay and pensions.

Unite is now calling on Ineos to return to ACAS for talks.

Pat Rafferty, Unite’s Scottish secretary, said: “At ACAS talks earlier this week, Unite committed to conducting no industrial action ballots or industrial action before December 31, 2013.

“This was on the basis that the company would not impose cuts on the workforce during the same period. Unite also proposed that these negotiations over the future of the site during this period would be held under the auspices of ACAS.

“Today, if the company lifts the cuts agenda it is imposing on its workers, then our offer still stands. If the company can provide that guarantee then there is no reason why the plant cannot return to production and both parties can return to negotiations immediately to secure the future of Grangemouth.

“But it is absolutely vital that Ineos removes its threats to the workforce immediately. We cannot work on a secure future for the site while the workforce is in fear for their jobs.”