24 October 2013 17:08 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--UK trade union Unite said on Thursday that it will agree to the survival plan laid out by INEOS to increase the competitiveness of the Grangemouth, UK refinery and petrochemicals complex.
A Unite spokesman said that the union would “fully embrace” the survival plan – which includes wage, pension and union representation reforms at the site – and is awaiting a response from INEOS.
Len McCluskey, Unite’s secretary general, added that he is hoping to meet with INEOS CEO Jim Ratcliffe to discuss the measures.
“The union has said that it will fully embrace the company's survival plan and Unite is now waiting for a response from INEOS. The ball is in the company's court,” a Unite spokesman said.
Unite’s stance is a sharp contrast from the increasingly venomous rhetoric from both sides of the negotiating table, with Unite referring to INEOS’ approach of leaving the Grangemouth site shut down while it demanded an employee vote on the survival plan as “cynical blackmail” as recently as 21 October.
INEOS has accused Unite of refusing to engage on issues such as workplace reforms, and claimed they had used “intimidatory tactics” such as picketing outside employees’ homes.
Measures in the survival plan include the shift from a final salary pension scheme – where employees’ pensions are based on salary at retirement and how many years spent with an employer – to a defined contribution scheme, where pensions are built up over the course of an employee’s career.
The proposals also include pay reform, and changes to workplace representation.
INEOS declined to comment, saying that it would elaborate on Thursday's discussions with Unite and the Scottish government on Friday.
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