Unite back in talks with INEOS over Grangemouth

24 October 2013 10:51  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Trade body Unite confirmed on Thursday that it has re-entered talks with Switzerland-headquartered chemicals company INEOS in a last-ditch bid to save jobs at the shuttered petrochemicals comple in Grangemouth, the UK.

The news comes a day after INEOS’ announcement that the Grangemouth petrochemicals complex – which has been offline for over a week – would stay closed after half of site’s employees voted against proposals to reform pensions, wages and union representation at the site.

Unite had been in talks with INEOS under the auspices of industrial dispute mediator ACAS last week, but negotiations broke down on 16 October.

At the time, Unite Scottish secretary Jim Rafferty said the trade body had offered “every proposal we could practically make”, indicating these renewed talks may show a willingness to make more concessions to INEOS’ survival plan than it would previously have countenanced.

“We can’t go into any details at this stage apart from... that we’re in talks as a way to save jobs and prevent harm to the plant,” a Unite spokesman said on Thursday.

Mediator ACAS is not involved in the current negotiations, he confirmed.

There were calls from both Scottish and UK governments for further talks regarding the plant’s future following the closure announcement yesterday. Scottish parliament confirmed its ministers have been in talks with potential buyers for the site, and UK Energy Minister Edward Davey said yesterday that Westminster still hopes that the complex will stay open.

According to INEOS, the site needs £300m (€411m, $484m) of investment, along with a £9m grant from the Scottish government and a £125m loan guarantee from the UK government for the construction of gas terminal infrastructure to allow the import of shale-derived ethane. The UK treasury pre-qualified the project for loan guarantees on 22 October.

The Grangemouth oil refinery- joint-owned by INEOS and PetroChina - is expected to be restarted, but its long-term viability in the absence of the petrochemicals site remains to be seen.

($1 = €0.73, €1 = £0.85, $1 = £0.62)

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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