Grangemouth to reopen: Ineos says union strikes last-minute deal

Unite accept terms of survival plan in a 'dramatic U-turn' 

The Grangemouth petrochemical site will re-open "with immediate effect" after Unite accepted a survival plan.

Owners Ineos have said it will re-open the plant and the oil refinery, in a move that followed a "dramatic U-turn" from the union. It said Unite have agreed to taking no further strike action for the next three years.

Union leaders accepted demands from managers on Thursday in a bid to save nearly 800 jobs at the site.

About half of the 1,370-strong workforce rejected the proposed changes to contracts earlier this week, which included a two-year pay freeze from 2014 to 2016, removal of a bonus up to 2016 and the end of the final-salary pension scheme.

Workers were told in a mass meeting this morning that the decision to shut down the site will be reversed. The news was met by cheering from the employees, according to reports.

Unite's Scottish secretary, Pat Rafferty, said: "This decision is clearly very welcome. Relief will ring right round the Grangemouth community, and across Scotland today. Hundreds of jobs that would have been lost can now be saved and £300 million will be invested into the plant.

Downing Street described the news as "very encouraging" and Energy Secretary Ed Davey said it was a "positive result" and a testament to the "many people in the UK and Scottish Governments who worked to make it happen".

Calum MacLean, Grangemouth chairman accused Unite of risking 800 jobs and one of the UK's largest manufacturing facilities "over a union official investigation before any verdict had been announced".

He added: “It then advised employees to reject the change essential to the survival of Grangemouth. Today's U-turn means Grangemouth now has an excellent future.”

In a press conference after the news had been announced, he told the media gathered no additional concessions had been demanded of the union by the firm. However, he did not rule out the possibility of some redundancies but stressed any job losses would be very limited". 

Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe described accepting the terms of the survival plan as a "victory for common sense".

Ineos said in a statement: “Unite's withdrawal of its opposition to the company's survival plan, which was already supported by 50 per cent of employees on the site, has allowed the shareholders to invest a further £300 million in the company.

“This money will be used to fund ongoing losses and to finance the building of a gas terminal to bring in shale gas ethane from the USA.

“The Scottish government has indicated it will support the company's application for a £9 million grant to help finance the terminal and the UK Government has given its prequalification approval for a £125 million loan guarantee facility.”

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said he was "delighted" by the news and praised the efforts of "all concerned" for preventing "what could have been a potential disaster".

”It's been a great team effort from all concerned, including the unions and workforce, the management, Governments - and BP, who have made a material contribution to help defend and secure Scottish jobs and livelihoods", he said.

“I am delighted that people have rallied round to protect these jobs, and now we can all agree that Grangemouth has an outstanding future."

More to follow

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Jeremy Clarkson
people
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own