Union sues Lyondell over pay dispute in US plant shutdown

15 July 2009 22:40 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The United Steelworkers (USW) union sued Lyondell Chemical in bankruptcy court on Wednesday, alleging that it owes workers severance pay after the company shut down an ethylene glycol (EG) plant in Beaumont, Texas.

Lyondell and the other US operations of LyondellBasell filed for bankruptcy protection in January.

Lyondell laid off the union members on 6 April, paying none of them severance benefits, the USW said. As such, the company broke its labour agreement, the USW alleged, and the union wants to arbitrate the pay dispute.

Lyondell refused, the union said.

In its lawsuit, the union wants the court to order Lyondell to go into arbitration so the two sides can resolve the dispute over severance pay.

Lyondell did not immediately return a call on Wednesday seeking comment.

The Beaumont plant has an EG capacity of 800m lb/year (363,000 tonnes/year), according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lyondell operated the plant through its PD Glycol joint venture with DuPont, according to the filing.

DuPont was not named or mentioned in the lawsuit.

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By Al Greenwood