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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high