28 October 2013 17:06 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Stephen Deans, a site employee representative at the heart of an industrial dispute that ended in INEOS threatening to shut down its petrochemicals facility in Grangemouth, UK, retired from his position on Monday with immediate effect.
On 23 October, INEOS told employees that the site would remain off line after being closed in preparation for anticipated industrial action over INEOS’ decision to launch an investigation into the conduct of union official and Labour party member, Deans.
However, the company had made several public statements at that point about the site’s lack of competitiveness – attributed in part to the financial burden of the site’s pension scheme – and warned that Grangemouth could close by 2017 if a solution was not found.
Industrial action first took the form of an overtime ban and a work-to-rule, but trade body Unite announced plans for a 48-hour walkout from the morning of 20 October.
The strike was called off after negotiations between INEOS and Unite at the Glasgow offices of industrial dispute mediator ACAS broke down on 16 October, although petrochemical and oil refining units had already begun to be taken off line in preparation for the walkout, and INEOS responded that the site would remain off line.
On Friday, INEOS announced it would reopen the petrochemicals complex after Unite agreed to the Switzerland-based chemicals producer’s survival plan for the facility. The union agreed to a raft of pension, wage and industrial action changes for workers at Grangemouth, as well as a reform of union representation at the site, in exchange for INEOS agreeing to bring the plant back on line.
“The company has conducted a thorough investigation into Mr Deans’ activities over the last 18 months and made Mr Deans aware of these findings last week,” INEOS said on Monday.
“Mr Deans requested an additional five days prior to the final disciplinary hearing to allow him time to provide any further relevant information,” it added.
INEOS said it was due to meet with Deans on Tuesday but has now received his resignation.
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