Grangemouth refinery workers reject pay deal

Two thirds of workers have rejected a pay and pensions cut by site operator Ineos

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The Independent Online

Union officials have confirmed two thirds of workers at the Grangemouth complex, Scotland’s biggest oil refinery, have rejected a pay and pensions cut

The Unite union said that it had been given 665 forms rejecting the new terms and conditions as part of a survival plan out of a workforce of 1,350 by the 6pm deadline.

Site operator Ineos is now meeting with shareholders to discuss its options. It has warned the plant would shut in 2017 without new investment and changes to workers’ terms and conditions. The plant processes around 200,000 barrels of oil a day.

Ineos said those who supported the survival plan would receive a transitional payment of up to £15,000.

It said the plant, which shut down last week because of the ongoing dispute, has been losing £10million a month.

Both sides have been locked in a bitter conflict for weeks that was instigated by the treatment of Unite convenor Stephen Deans, who was involved in the row over a selection of a Labour candidate in Falkirk, where he is chairman of the constituency party.

He was suspended, before being reinstated, and is now facing an internal investigation. The report will be published on Friday.

Jim Ratcliffe, the founder and chairman of Ineos, one of the world's largest chemicals manufacturers, said at the weekend that the fate of the Grangemouth plant now rested with its staff.

“This is not a bluff. The clock is ticking,” he said. “Grangemouth could have a future but that is absolutely in the hands of the workers. If we go down the wrong road, then I'm afraid this story will not have a happy ending.”

Pat Rafferty, Unite's Scottish secretary said this was an "overwhelming rejection of the company's blackmail and threats" and urged Ineos to "fire up the plant and get around the table at Acas".

“This resounding rejection of the company's cynical blackmail sends a clear message to the company", Mr Rafferty said.

“The people who have so far rejected Ineos' ultimatum are the backbone of the plant, the people who keep the site running and the oil flowing."