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Grangemouth: Unite Union To Make Last-Ditch Attempt To Save Plant And 800 Jobs

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Telegraph 23.10.13

' Union representatives said on Wednesday night that they planned to re-open talks at 8am with the Swiss-based Ineos, which announced it was closing the plant after only half the staff accepted its "survival plan".

The plan would have seen bonus cuts, changes to working terms, a reduction in pension benefits and a no-strike pledge, sweetened by a £15,000 one-off payment.

In a move that provoked political outcry in Westminster and Edinburgh, the Swiss-based chemicals giant said it had no option but to close the loss-making unit, sending ministers into a scramble to find a new buyer. There was speculation they may again turn to foreign investors, including China – though experts warned they would have to subsidise any deal.

But, with the plant facing imminent closure, Unite last night appeared ready to accept key parts of Ineos's plan. A Unite spokesman said: "Unite has made recommendations to Ineos as way to save jobs and prevent needless harm to this plant and the local community. We meet with the company tomorrow and will hear then if they share these objectives."

Unite sources said the Grangemouth management would put Unite's proposals to shareholders if they amounted to a viable plan to save the plant. '

Strange world.

Edited by Sancho Panza

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I've had the distinct "pleasure" of being "represented" by UNITE in an industrial dispute. My experience is that they are have no grasp of tactics, or strategy and negotiate about as well as my two year old son. If talk of capitulation is right, UNITE may as well be finished. Remember the BA dispute? They lost that one too.

I am ever more of the opinion that UNITE exists purely to support UNITE and has no real world relevance at all. Its a shame because without doubt what you're looking at a Grangemouth is something the globalists tell us doesn't happen, that race to the bottom thing. Somebody made promises to the workforce. Is it reasonable for all of those promises to be discarded?

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Unite have had their bluff well and truly called. They are now in no position to negotiate anything, unless they think Ineos don't have the balls to close the place. Ineos now realise that a sizeable proportion of its Grangemouth staff don't like compromise (Ineos opinion of course). So they may be thinking it's just not worth the hassle, if/when they have to negotiate terms again further down the line. I think the only course of action for Unite is to put its tail firmly between those firm thighs & accept the deal with open arms. The focus/pressure will then be on Ineos.

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Look at the date

Herald Scotland

Falkirk fall-out could shut down Grangemouth

Published on 29 September 2013

Paul Hutcheon

HUNDREDS of emails relating to Labour's botched selection contest in Falkirk have allegedly been found on the work computer of the trade union official at the centre of the row.

The chairman of Ineos, the oil refinery firm in Grangemouth that employs Unite's Scottish chairman, Stevie Deans, said the discovery was made during an investigation into the shop steward.

However, Unite members at the plant have voted for strike action over what the union describes as the "victimisation" of Deans.

Unite, which is Labour's biggest union affiliate, has been under pressure over its tactics in allegedly trying to secure the party candidacy in Falkirk for Karie Murphy.

The union signed up around 100 new members, some of whom are believed to be linked to the Ineos plant, a recruitment surge that triggered an internal Labour inquiry.

Murphy and Deans - who is also chairman of the local Labour party in Falkirk - were suspended by the main Labour Party, but cleared after key evidence was withdrawn during the inquiry.

Ineos launched its own investigation into Deans, a longstanding employee, which is believed to focus on whether company resources were used for the purposes of the Labour selection.

In a letter to staff last week, Ineos chairman Calum MacLean stated: "The investigation of Mr Deans on a limited search of his emails has revealed over 1000 emails associated with the Falkirk West election. The company has therefore decided to carry out a fuller search.

"This search will be carried out by a third party and will be complete by 18th October. Ineos management will decide whether action needs to be taken by 25th October."

However, Unite says Deans was initially cleared and reinstated by the firm, and accuses the company of singling out its official.

After balloting its members earlier this month, Unite announced on Friday that 81.4% of those who voted backed strike action.

A shut-down could result in the vital oil refinery effectively being closed due to a row over issues relating to a Labour selection contest.

In a sign of the tensions between the union and the employer, Ineos is taking legal action against Unite about a statement on the union's website it says is libellous.

Unite officials have also urged Finance Secretary John Swinney at a recent meeting to intervene.

MacLean said: "We will not be intimidated by union pressure. We cannot have one rule for union officials and another for everyone else on the site.

"I would urge union members to reflect on what they have been told by the union and think carefully about how they vote on this issue."

It is understood employees have gone through the Ineos disciplinary process in the past, without the action triggering a strike ballot.

A Unite spokesman said: "Stephen Deans was cleared and then reinstated. Unite is deeply concerned that, irrespective of these facts, Ineos, which is majority-owned by Jim Ratcliffe, is continuing with a campaign of unfair treatment against an innocent employee."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The Scottish Government has been in discussion with both Unite and Ineos management.

"We are disappointed that discussions to date have yet to resolve the issues between the two sides and we urge the union and Ineos managers to work together to achieve a settlement.

"We will continue to offer any support that would facilitate those talks"

And its happened ....?.

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If the plant is leveraged too much perhaps they could offer to pay off some off the debt as for the private company?

Apparently the final salary scheme was the problem, existing rights would have been protected but not moving forward. Now there is no moving forward to even pay an additional defined contribution scheme.

Of course Unite believe in the magic money tree, all final salary schemes are funded (especially public sector ones) end of argument. And public sector workers believe in alchemy too. A few quid a week gets you up to forty years of superannuated heaven, its all magic and above board.

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Appears my football forum insider info of a £15k sweetener was spot on :D

As for what has happened here ? Very obvious - all those workers who were no doubt told by UNITE - don't worry they will cave in trust us - have now had hundreds of balls from angry workers saying - you ******ing **** you promised us this wouldn't happen do something about it ******ing now !!

You can just read it like a book.

And of course this all puts Mr hardball boss of INEOS in an even stronger position than before.

Got to give it to the bloke - he may well be a total **** - but he is a very smart one.

UNITE just tried to pick a fight with Mike Tyson - and took a swift hook in the chops.

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Appears my football forum insider info of a £15k sweetener was spot on :D

As for what has happened here ? Very obvious - all those workers who were no doubt told by UNITE - don't worry they will cave in trust us - have now had hundreds of balls from angry workers saying - you ******ing **** you promised us this wouldn't happen do something about it ******ing now !!

You can just read it like a book.

And of course this all puts Mr hardball boss of INEOS in an even stronger position than before.

Got to give it to the bloke - he may well be a total **** - but he is a very smart one.

UNITE just tried to pick a fight with Mike Tyson - and took a swift hook in the chops.

Wonder whether the chief negotiator for Unite will feel any responsibility for losing 800 jobs. Probably not......I guess it was all Ineos' fault.

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Wonder whether the chief negotiator for Unite will feel any responsibility for losing 800 jobs. Probably not......I guess it was all Ineos' fault.

They don't generally seem the type.. . .

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It's always a worry how viable some industries are with the historic burden of final salary schemes. Royal Mail had to be given a clean slate with its billion + under funding wiped. these things tend to get forgotten when the equity market is booming, and comes back as an issue during a crash.

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Unite have had their bluff well and truly called. They are now in no position to negotiate anything, unless they think Ineos don't have the balls to close the place. Ineos now realise that a sizeable proportion of its Grangemouth staff don't like compromise (Ineos opinion of course). So they may be thinking it's just not worth the hassle, if/when they have to negotiate terms again further down the line. I think the only course of action for Unite is to put its tail firmly between those firm thighs & accept the deal with open arms. The focus/pressure will then be on Ineos.

Unite seemed to think it was still the 1970s and they were dealing with a nationalised industry.

Sorry children, you are dealing with people you can't push around.

Not having a go at the workers, as ccc said I'm sure they were told that Unite would "sort it".

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If the plant is leveraged too much perhaps they could offer to pay off some off the debt as for the private company?

Bloke on Newsnight seemed to be saying anyone who would put in the needed investment would have the plant infrastructure for free? And as they discussed you don`t just lock the gates and walk away from a plant like that, there is a huge on going maintenance/security/health and safety issue, someone has to be responsible for that. Nationalisation coming up?

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1382607903[/url]' post='909417262']

Unite seemed to think it was still the 1970s and they were dealing with a nationalised industry.

Sorry children, you are dealing with people you can't push around.

Not having a go at the workers, as ccc said I'm sure they were told that Unite would "sort it".

This could turn out to be a very nasty dose of reality for the employees involved. I get the impression that the workers at the bottom of the ladder, were earning above average earnings by Scotland's standards never mind those further up. The majority will no doubt have to take a reasonable pay cut, if they manage to find themselves employment elsewhere. I bet a lot of them now wish they owned a DMC-12.

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This could turn out to be a very nasty dose of reality for the employees involved. I get the impression that the workers at the bottom of the ladder, were earning above average earnings by Scotland's standards never mind those further up. The majority will no doubt have to take a reasonable pay cut, if they manage to find themselves employment elsewhere. I bet a lot of them now wish they owned a DMC-12.

Don't we all want a DeLorean! This happens to be my dad's single "if I won the lottery" purchase.

I've dealt with TUPEs where skilled manual workers who'd been at the council for ages were earning double what they could reasonably expect for a similar job in the private sector. It's not as though they had demanded those wages but successive weak administrations and management had brought in various things to actually make people do their jobs (big performance bonus for actually turning up nine days out of ten for example) and so their wages had crept up. They didn't know that they being massively overpaid and assumed that as they were good workers they could carry on at that level until retirement.

It was a big shock to them to find that they had the choice of redundancy or having their wages halved. They weren't greedy or lazy, they'd just been doing the same job for years under weak management that kept paying them more. I had a lot of sympathy for them but keeping them on those wages was not an option.

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Isn`t the reality that the management want this plant closed, but went through the wage reduction panto for whatever reason? What I heard last night about the way the US can produce and refine oil cheaper than here now means this closure is happening? Not nice for the people losing their jobs, but isn`t it better to just take the hit now and accept that economic realities are changing, one silver lining might be that this speeds up the house price correction in Scotland?

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Isn`t the reality that the management want this plant closed, but went through the wage reduction panto for whatever reason? What I heard last night about the way the US can produce and refine oil cheaper than here now means this closure is happening? Not nice for the people losing their jobs, but isn`t it better to just take the hit now and accept that economic realities are changing, one silver lining might be that this speeds up the house price correction in Scotland?

Yes if it was smaller, but the figures quoted on R4 yesterday was that this one plant contributes 1% of Scotland's GDP directly and 5% indirectly (seems a high mark-up but there you go). That's huge and it closing would be a devastating blow to the local area. Although being honest I have no idea where it actually is!

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Yes if it was smaller, but the figures quoted on R4 yesterday was that this one plant contributes 1% of Scotland's GDP directly and 5% indirectly (seems a high mark-up but there you go). That's huge and it closing would be a devastating blow to the local area. Although being honest I have no idea where it actually is!

Grangemouth is a town and former burgh in the council area of Falkirk, Scotland. The town lies in the Forth Valley, on the banks of the Firth of Forth, 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Falkirk, 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Bo'ness and 13 miles (20.9 km) south-east of Stirling. Grangemouth had a resident population of 17,906 according to the 2001 Census.[2]

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Yes if it was smaller, but the figures quoted on R4 yesterday was that this one plant contributes 1% of Scotland's GDP directly and 5% indirectly (seems a high mark-up but there you go). That's huge and it closing would be a devastating blow to the local area. Although being honest I have no idea where it actually is!

Someone else posted 10% indirectly?

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Yes if it was smaller, but the figures quoted on R4 yesterday was that this one plant contributes 1% of Scotland's GDP directly and 5% indirectly (seems a high mark-up but there you go). That's huge and it closing would be a devastating blow to the local area. Although being honest I have no idea where it actually is!

Does seem a bit high, think there must be a mix up between GDP and industrial production.

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Someone else posted 10% indirectly?

It was 1% and 5% for the chemical plant. They said there would be similar if the oil refinery went as well (below from the Telegraph) so double it to 2% and 10% if that goes too.

No government would just shrug that one off.

The planned closure of the chemicals plant raised immediate concerns over the future of the adjacent oil refinery, which Ineos owns in a 51:49 joint-venture with PetroChina and supplies 80pc of Scotland’s fuel. The business, which employs a further 600 workers, was temporarily shut down last week as the labour dispute over the chemicals plant escalated.

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It was 1% and 5% for the chemical plant. They said there would be similar if the oil refinery went as well (below from the Telegraph) so double it to 2% and 10% if that goes too.

No government would just shrug that one off.

So will all the workers just buckle now to keep their jobs?

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Grangemouth is a town and former burgh in the council area of Falkirk, Scotland. The town lies in the Forth Valley, on the banks of the Firth of Forth, 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Falkirk, 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Bo'ness and 13 miles (20.9 km) south-east of Stirling. Grangemouth had a resident population of 17,906 according to the 2001 Census.[2]

Thank you but I'm not much the wiser!

An area primarily known for a chemical factory and an oil refinery is not an area I plan to spend a weekend in :P

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