06 November 2001 14:14 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--BP Chembel told CNI on Tuesday that its appeal against the works tribunal decision to reinstate two sacked workers at its site in Feluy, Belgium will be held on Friday (9 November) in Charleroi.
An entire shift of ten operators working on the linear alpha olefins (LAO) plant in Feluy was fired on 5 October after refusing to obey orders relating to the management of a production incident. A further two were dismissed in the ensuing strike.
Two of the sacked operators had "protected" status as union representatives and required a tribunal to legalise their removal from office. They have since been reinstated at the plant in accordance with a works tribunal's decision on 25 October.
Belgian trades unions have battled with the BP Chembel management at Feluy in recent weeks over safety fears and a planned restructuring programme, named Genesis. The restructuring involves the loss of 70 jobs from the 290-strong workforce at the site.
Karol Macek, a BP Chembel manager, described the most recent meeting with employee and trades union representatives, which took place yesterday (Monday), as "constructive". Negotiations will continue in the coming weeks, he said, with the company expecting the unions' objections to the Genesis programme.
A spokesman from the Belgian union FGTB said his union's concerns centre on pay and benefits for employees remaining at the plant, redundancy packages for those leaving and any changes to shifts, holiday allocation, and training for new positions.
Both the FGTB and BP Chembel management said safety would remain a priority.
The 300 000 tonne/year LAO plant at Feluy is not expected to resume production until mid-November, following scheduled maintenance work which began at the end of the strike. BP Chembel, which is the Belgian subsidiary of UK-headquartered BP Chemicals, also produces 60 000 tonne/year of poly alpha olefins (PAO) and 3000-5000 tonne/year aluminium alkylates at the site.
(Additional reporting by Hugo Leblud in Brussels.)
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