Grangemouth petrochemical plant to be closed
Focus shifts to saving oil refinery after owner of strike-crippled petrochemical plant says it will shut
DAVID CAMERON has expressed his "disappointment" at the decision to close and liquidate the petrochemical plant at the Grangemouth oil refinery in central Scotland.
About 800 people are "directly employed" by the plant and others work there as subcontractors. Ineos, the company that owns the plant, said the facility would enter liquidation within a week. It said a decision on whether to re-start the refinery, which is separate but has been closed since last week because of an industrial dispute, would be made once "the threat of strike action" had been removed, the BBC reports.
Grangemouth has been paralysed by a bitter dispute that began with the suspension of a union convenor. It escalated when management proposed a 'survival plan' for the petrochemical plant which "amounts to a cut in pension entitlement, overtime pay and redundancy terms", reports Sky News. The entire facility has been shut since last week, and Ineos says the Scotland's biggest oil refinery is already losing £10m a month.
Workers who were informed of the company's decision at a 20-minute meeting held at the plant today said they were "shocked".
One employee claimed that Grangemouth Petrochemicals chairman Calum Maclean was "smiling" when he made the announcement, the BBC says. Another worker, who did not want to be named, said: "I feel sick. It's gone. There's no livelihoods left and we don't even know if we're going to get redundancy out of it. I hope they're happy with themselves."
Ineos said it was left with no choice after a vote by union members on whether to accept the controversial survival plan was split 50/50. "Sadly, the shareholders reached the conclusion that they could not see a future for Grangemouth without change and therefore could no longer continue to fund the business," the company said in a statement.
The BBC says politicians and unions will now "focus" on re-starting the oil refinery which is "a key part of the UK and Scottish economy". The giant facility supplies 70 per cent of the fuel used at Scotland's filling stations and it also supplies fuel to Northern Ireland and the North of England. ·