ICI agrees huge severance deals for Scottish workers

ICI, Britain's biggest chemical company, is offering a group of industrial workers one of the most generous severance packages in recent history.

Employees made redundant at one of the group's Scottish plants who move into lower paid work will have their wages enhanced by up to 25 per cent for two years.

Employees within two years of ICI's early retirement age of 50 will be "kept on the books" - even if it means they are paid to do nothing - so that they can qualify for a company pension. It is envisaged that most of them will be seconded to other firms, but ICI will guarantee a full pensionable wage.

Union officials will seek to emulate the package elsewhere and other companies will come under pressure to match it.

Fred Higgs, a national official with the Transport and General Workers' Union, described the deal as "uniquely beneficial". He said the relative generosity of the agreement reflected the fact that the plant at Cargenbridge in Dumfries, which makes polypropylene, was remote from job opportunities.

The few jobs on offer locally paid far less than the average pounds 20,000 a year the 200 workers earned. He said, however, that the union would be looking for similar agreements where there were ICI plant closures and where unemployment was high.

The shutdown of the Dumfries works is part of the chemical giant's strategy of moving away from lower margin bulk chemicals to specialise in more profitable sectors such as coatings and speciality chemicals.

The company has already sold its Melinex plant in the Dumfries area, which employs 600, to DuPont. It was followed by the disposal of the more modern of its two polypropylene plants at Cargenbridge, to UCB of Belgium.

The polypropylene works which is being closed was loss-making and it is the first plant where the ICI reorganisation has caused compulsory redundancies. Some 85 of the employees were transferred to UCB where pay and conditions will be protected for at least four years and where a mirror-image of the ICI pension scheme has been established.

All staff have been promised that no one will be forced to leave ICI employment until the end of the year and that no one will receive less than pounds 10,000 in pay-offs.

Mr Higgs, who negotiated the package, said it demonstrated that where there was a will on both sides it was possible to design a deal to suit local needs. "No one is entirely happy with the deal because they were hoping to work for ICI until they retired, but we had to acknowledge that the site was making losses."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Reach Volunteering: Trustees with Finance, Fundraising and IT skills

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent