14 December 2001 18:47 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Belgian trade union FGTB said Friday it is close to an agreement on parts of a planned restructure at BP Chembel’s Feluy chemicals plant in Belgium.
An FGTB spokesman told CNI that a severance package was likely to be accepted for the proposed job cuts at the site. However, he said the FGTB would be pushing for voluntary redundancies only.
BP Chembel, the Belgian subsidiary of UK-headquartered BP Chemicals, announced in October a planned restructure to include 70 job cuts from its 300-strong workforce in Feluy by the end of 2003.
However, management agreed to reduce the cuts to 60 on 20 November, as reported in CNI.
Tim Armstrong, managing director at the Feluy site, said yesterday that agreement had been reached with both FGTB and the smaller CSC union on outline severance terms for the surplus workers. He said negotiations were continuing with both unions on the principles of reorganisation.
The FGTB spokesman confirmed today that organisational issues had not been resolved. Safety issues have been at the fore of negotiations, particularly after 10 operators were sacked for gross misconduct after refusing to obey orders relating to the management of a production incident, sparking an eight-day strike. A further three operators were sacked for violent conduct during the strike.
A court ruled that two of the sacked operators, protected by union status, should be reinstated. Last week, the remaining eleven blue collar workers filed a lawsuit against BP, claiming wrongful dismissal.
BP Chembel is appealing against the reinstatement of the two "protected" union representatives and is considering its response to the writ served by the sacked workers.
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