Statements on Grangemouth threat of closure

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There follows the press statement released by Ineos this morning


GRANGEMOUTH PETROCHEMICALS COMPLEX TO CLOSE
LIQUIDATORS TO BE APPOINTED WITHIN WEEK
PETROINEOS WILL NOW DECIDE ON FUTURE OF REFINERY

GRANGEMOUTH PETROCHEMICALS CHAIRMAN SAYS, “THIS IS A VERY SAD DAY FOR EVERYONE AT GRANGEMOUTH. MANAGEMENT SPOKE TO ALL 1370 EMPLOYEES AND ASKED THEM TO SUPPORT THE CHANGES REQUIRED TO SAVE THE BUSINESS. SADLY, HALF OF THEM VOTED AGAINST THE PLAN ON THE ADVICE OF THE UNITE TRADE UNION”.

Following the breakdown of the ACAS talks last week and Unite’s refusal to provide a no strike guarantee, the company decided to approach the employees direct.

Employees were asked to support the changes necessary to save the business. Management held direct meetings with all employees to explain the very serious nature of the problem.

The company made it clear that rejection of change would result in closure. Regrettably, the union advised union members to reject any form of change.

The outcome of the employee vote on the company’s Survival Plan was a 50/50 split.

Within this, almost all of the administrative staff voted for the company’s plan but a large majority of shop floor employees voted to reject it.

The shareholders met yesterday to consider the future of the business following the result of the employee vote.

Sadly, the shareholders reached the conclusion that they could not see a future for Grangemouth without change and therefore could no longer continue to fund the business.   

Calum MacLean, Grangemouth Petrochemicals chairman, says, “This is a hugely sad day for everyone at Grangemouth. We have tried our hardest to convince employees of the need for change but unsuccessfully. There was only ever going to be one outcome to this story if nothing changed and we continued to lose money”.

As a result of this decision, the directors of the petrochemicals business have had no option but to engage the services of a liquidator.   It is anticipated that a liquidation process will commence in a week.

Petroineos will now decide on whether to restart the refinery.   This will be primarily dependent on the removal of the threat of further industrial action.

Calum MacLean, Grangemouth Petrochemicals chairman, adds,”We still struggle to comprehend what has happened here. The employees were offered a chance to secure substantial new investment in the company, preserve their jobs and keep their salaries. Sadly this will no longer be the case”.

Statement from the STUC

Speaking after INEOS announced its intention to close and rapidly liquidate the Grangemouth petrochemical plant, Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said:

“The behaviour of INEOS is simply disgusting and it reveals the true nature of a feral private equity concern that clearly believes it has no social obligations whatsoever.

“In anticipation of this eventuality, the STUC has been in discussion with Scottish Ministers and the Secretary of State for Scotland over the past few days. If INEOS is not willing to invest in this plant alternatives must be quickly and diligently pursued.

“As many have noted over the recent period, the Grangemouth complex is too important to the Scottish economy to be closed on the vindictive whim of an unaccountable billionaire. When the stability of the economy was threatened by the failure of RBS and HBOS, government was quick to act. Now when the stability of the Scottish economy is threatened by the industrial blackmail tactics of INEOS, government must again find the will to act.

“The STUC will meet UNITE colleagues later today to express the solidarity of the wider Scottish trade union movement and discuss ways in which we can provide practical support to the workforce and community”.