Grangemouth closure reversed after union accepts Ineos ‘survival plan’
The owners of Grangemouth have told workers that the decision to close the petrochemicals factory has been reversed and the whole site has been saved.
The move follows a dramatic climbdown by the Unite trade union on Thursday. The union accepted drastic cuts to employees’ working conditions after the Ineos owner, Jim Ratcliffe, ordered the petrochemicals site’s closure.
Calum MacLean, Ineos Grangemouth’s chairman, said: "We are happy to announce that following a meeting with shareholders that Grangemouth petrochemicals will remain open. That decision has been reversed."
MacLean said Unite had not made any further concessions and that the union had accepted Ineos’s "survival plan" for the site, which employs 1,370 permanent workers and 2,000 contractors. He said Ratcliffe had several conversations with the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, and UK ministers, and Ineos would now make the £300m investment to secure Grangemouth’s long-term future.
MacLean was critical of the union’s handling of the crisis. "Unite risked 800 jobs and one of the UK’s largest manufacturing facilities over a union official investigation before any verdict had been announced. It then advised employees to reject the change essential to the survival of Grangemouth."
He refused to rule out limited redundancies.
Ratcliffe added: "This is a victory for common sense. Unite advised employees to reject change and vote for closure. Thank goodness people finally came to their senses. Grangemouth now has a great future."
Ineos said Unite had made a "dramatic U-turn" and agreed to a three-year pay freeze, no strikes for three years, moving to a "modern" pension scheme and changes to union agreements on the site including no full-time union conveners.
Downing Street said prime minister David Cameron’s priority was to ensure the business survived. "Any progress in that direction is very encouraging," a No 10 spokesman said.