By a Newsnet reporter
The union official whose alleged Labour party work led to a dispute that almost closed down the Grangemouth plant has resigned from his job.
Stephen Deans today announced his resignation before a scheduled meeting with management at the plant on Tuesday.
The Unite official has been at the centre of the controversial dispute between management at the plant and the Unite union after he was accused of having used company equipment to carry out work for the Labour party. The company has alleged that Deans was conducting Labour party business during work time.
Despite being contacted several times by Newsnet Scotland, Unite has refuse to provide any comment or statement on the situation regarding their official. Newsnet Scotland understands that Tuesday’s disciplinary meeting would have resulted in the union official being sacked from his post.
In a statement, Ineos said: “Mr Stephen Deans has today resigned from the company with immediate effect.
“The company has conducted a thorough investigation into Mr Deans’ activities over the last eighteen months and made Mr Deans aware of these findings last week. Mr Deans requested an additional five days prior to the final disciplinary hearing to allow him time to provide any further relevant information.
“The company was due to meet with Mr Deans again tomorrow but has now received his resignation.”
Deans’ resignation has been described by Labour MP Michael Connarty as a “victimisation”. The Labour MP last week accused the UK Government of “colluding” with Inoes in order to break the resolve of workers at the plant.
Stephen Deans was at the centre of a controversy in Falkirk over the selection of a Labour candidate to replace disgraced MP Eric Joyce. Mr Deans was said to have tried to rig the ballot in favour of candidate Kara Murphy.
Mr Deans and Ms Murphy were both suspended from the Labour party after allegations were made that the Unite union had tried to recruit new members in order boost the chances of Ms Murphy. However both were reinstated after a Labour party investigation uncovered no evidence to support the claims.
This weekend Ineos handed over internal company emails to the Sunday Times that they claim support their own belief that Mr Deans was conducting Labour party business during work time at Grangemouth. The internal investigation into Mr Deans by the company resulted in a ballot for strike action that ultimately almost closed down the Grangemouth facility.
The situation has led to criticism of Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont who has been accused of standing by as the Unite situation got out of control. Ms Lamont is a member of the Unite union and owes her role as leader of Scottish Labour to Unite.
Speaking to the Herald newspaper, Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said:
“This sorry saga has brutally exposed the unhealthy closeness of Labour and Unite.
“Johann Lamont must now undertake to cleanse the stables is she is to be taken seriously.
“The idea that the ego of one man could almost bring down an entire industry in Scotland is shameful, and Labour merely stood by and allowed it to happen.”
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “This is a matter between Stevie Deans and Ineos.”