14 November 2001 16:17 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Health and safety fears linked to the proposed swingeing job cuts at BP's Grangemouth refinery and petrochemicals site in Scotland have prompted trade unions to oppose the redundancies. The cutbacks have also led to a call for a "safe and transparent restructure" from local member of parliament Michael Connarty.
BP announced on Tuesday that it will be cutting 40% of its 2500 workforce at Grangemouth over the next two years and closing one of the site's older high density polyethylene (hdPE) plants.
Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) regional secretary for Scotland Andy Baird said the union had health and safety concerns over a reduced workforce at Grangemouth, citing the site's track record.
Connarty said: "I am calling for a safe, viable, sustainable restructure involving the workforce and one that is totally transparent." He commented that the process should be set up so the workforce representatives and the Health and Safety executive can continually monitor the impact of workforce reductions against the new structures.
Last year the catalytic converter in the refinery burned down and in July this year 300 employees were evacuated after a toxic leak from a slops storage tank.
Negotiations between unions will concentrate on finding alternatives to redundancies, according to the TGWU. However it said it was opposed to any cuts, particularly compulsory redundancies. A spokesman was unable to speculate on whether any strike action would take place in protest at the cuts.
Unions have been invited to a meeting on Wednesday afternoon between Scottish MPs, and the in which implications of the redundancies will be discussed alongside initiatives from Scottish Enterprise to utilise the skills entering the employment market.
The Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU) is also understood to share the TGWU's concerns. However, CNI was unable immediately to reach an AEEU official for comment.
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