Ineos the petrochemical plant at the giant Grangemouth complex in central Scotland is to close with the loss of about 800 jobs, owner Ineos has announced. The news was broken to the workforce at the plant this morning at a meeting within the associated oil refinery.
The dispute at the plant, near Falkirk, began over the treatment of a union official and escalated to the threat of strike action. This was dropped but the operator shut down the plant and issued an offer of revised terms and conditions in a "survival plan", which was rejected by union members.
The reality of the situation at 'Ineos', management are on a 'cuts agenda' - a race to the bottom, a slash and burn energy policy. The company refused and had no intention of seeking arbitration at ACAS.
Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants chairman said: "We stand shoulder to shoulder with those workers 'dumped on the dole' this morning. The message is clear; the people of Scotland and the north of England will not give in to the 'bully boy tactics' of Ineos. The people are united against this bully. Livelihoods of a loyal workforce, decent men and women have now been thrown into the gutter of unemployment by these industrial wreckers - Ineos has this morning adopted a 'scorched earth' policy in terms of being a provider for Scotland and the North of England".
In the letter the leaders of the 13 trade unions write: "We want the senior management of Ineos to know that we stand side by side in solidarity with our colleagues. We ask that Ineos immediately stops the intrusive and intimidatory investigations and threats of dismissal against Stephen Deans and agrees a sensible timetable for talks with Unite on the future of Grangemouth."
The statement has been signed by the leaders of ABVV - FGTB, Belguim; ACV - CSC, Belgium; CFE - CGT, France; FNIC - CGT, France; FNV Bondgennoten, Holland; IGBCE, Germany; IF Metall, Sweden, Industi Energi, Norway; Syna, Switzerland; Uiltec, Italy; UFCW, USA; USW, USA and Canada.
Ineos arrogantly ignored the appeal and SACKED 800. Workers leaving the staff meeting, which lasted about 15 minutes, spoke of their utter contempt towards the company describing it as "shocking". Workers claimed that Grangemouth Petrochemicals chairman Calum Maclean had been "smiling" when he made the announcement.
Another worker, who did not want to be named, said: "I feel sick. It's gone. There's no livelihoods left and we don't even know if we're going to get redundancy out of it. I hope they're happy with themselves."
The worker, who appeared close to tears at points, said he could only listen to about 10 minutes of the meeting, before he felt he had to leave. He went on: "There are folk in there have a husband and wife work here. That's it. Folk will be lucky if they have a house at Christmas."
Ineos said liquidators for the petrochemical plant would be appointed within a week. Ineos chairman and founder Jim Ratcliffe had said at the weekend that if the petrochemical plant closed it was likely the refinery would go as well.
Ineos has justified the attacks, claiming the company faces financial difficulties, but accounting experts blew a hole in Ineos’ claims over its finances. An independent analysis released by Unite the Union shows that Ineos ‘Chemicals’ expects to make profits of half a billion pounds in the coming years and that labour costs including pensions account for just under 17 per cent of total turnover.
Unite wrote to the anti-avoidance arm of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to investigate the tax affairs of the Ineos Group amid concerns that the company's arrangements ‘obfuscate the true position of Ineos' UK activities’. The formal request follows questions about apparent accounting contradictions in Ineos’ ‘Chemical’ accounts which simultaneously paint both a gloomy and upbeat assessment of the company's finances and future profitability.
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