UNITE general secretary Len McCluskey yesterday said the union had decided to ‘embrace’ a survival plan at Grangemouth put forward by owner Ineos, ‘warts and all’.
The ‘survival plan’ agreed with local management has yet to be agreed by Ineos boss Jim Radcliff.
This includes pay, pension and job cuts and an at least one-year no-strike deal.
Speaking after union leaders met with management yesterday morning to discuss the future of the closure-threatened petrochemical plant, McCluskey said he was concerned for jobs, and that ‘we don’t want to see Grangemouth become a ghost town’.
McCluskey said: ‘This plant is on cold shutdown and each day that goes by makes it harder to start back up again, which is why the stewards made the offer to the company – so that we can get people back to work.’
He added: ‘I feel very positive about our objective of making certain that the plant stays open. Obviously now it will be in the hands of Ineos.
‘I’m optimistic that we will have a positive response from Ineos in the next 24 hours or so.’
He said the union would not let the plant close, and had been ‘encouraged’ by similar comments from Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond.
Ineos was expected to wait until after further meetings that were being held later yesterday, involving Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney and Westminster’s Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, before responding to the latest development.
Speaking ahead of these meetings, Swinney said Unite ‘has made a significant offer’ accepting the company’s ‘survival plan’, saying Grangemouth was vital to Scotland and hoped Ineos would reopen the petrochemical plant.
Downing Street said Cameron was ‘keen’ that discussions continue between Unite and the company.
All Trades Unions Alliance national secretary Dave Wiltshire told News Line: ‘This stinks! The Unite leadership should be thrown out for their treachery.
‘They’ve accepted a no-strike deal and completely sold out their members.
‘They call a one-day strike, then call it off and then agree pay and pension cuts – everything the company demanded and, on top of this, a no-strike deal.
‘They should be replaced by a new leadership that will organise an occupation and demand the whole of the trade union movement defend the Grangemouth workers with a general strike.’