GRANGEMOUTH’S owner Ineos announced yesterday the closure of its petrochemical plant, while also keeping the oil refinery closed and perhaps re-opening it if a no-strike deal is reached.
At least 800 out of 1,400 jobs are to go.
Management held sacking meetings in the staff canteen yesterday morning with groups of workers, 100-200 at a time, with Unite officials present.
One member of staff said that Grangemouth Petrochemicals chairman Calum Maclean had been ‘smiling’ when he made the announcement.
Coming out of one of the meetings, a worker told the assembled press: ‘Calum Maclean – one of the boys actually said, did he find it funny and why was he smiling as he was telling us we were out of our jobs?’
Another worker said: ‘There are no livelihoods left and we don’t even know if we’re going to get redundancy out of it. I hope they’re happy with themselves.’
He continued: ‘There are folk in there have a husband and wife work here. That’s it. Folk will be lucky if they have a house at Christmas.’
Ineos said liquidators for the petrochemical plant would be appointed within a week.
In a statement released after the staff meetings, Ineos said: ‘The company made it clear that rejection of change would result in closure. Regrettably, the union advised union members to reject any form of change.
‘The outcome of the employee vote on the company’s survival plan was a 50/50 split.
‘Within this, almost all of the administrative staff voted for the company’s plan but a large majority of shop floor employees voted to reject it.’
Calum MacLean, chairman of Grangemouth Petrochemicals, said: ‘We have tried our hardest to convince employees of the need for change but unsuccessfully.
‘There was only ever going to be one outcome to this story if nothing changed and we continued to lose money.
‘The employees were offered a chance to secure substantial new investment in the company, preserve their jobs and keep their salaries. Sadly this will no longer be the case.’
Michael Connarty, Labour MP for Linlithgow and Falkirk East (which includes Grangemouth), said: ‘I am not really shocked. It confirms to me that they (Ineos) have a very callous view of their commitment to Scotland and to the people who work for them.
‘It just underlines what I have seen during the negotiations, the whole attitude has been 1920s hardman, management politics and spin. It is an attempt to blame the workers for what they have decided to do.
‘It is a kind of cut your nose off to spite your face attitude, it seems to me.’
Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary, said: ‘The behaviour of Ineos is simply disgusting and it reveals the true nature of a feral private equity concern that clearly believes it has no social obligations whatsoever.’