Threatened petrochemical strike could close “much of Scotland”

A threatened 48-hour walkout at Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical site could “effectively shut much of Scotland”, the site’s operators Ineos have warned.

Members of the Unite union are planning a downing of tools on Sunday 20th October in a dispute which centres on union convener, Stephen Deans.

Gordon Grant, the site’s industrial relations manager, told BBC Scotland that the strike “seems bizarre and completely irresponsible”.

“We have outlined the timetable that this investigation will complete by 25th October, the trade union should call a strike before that investigation is complete.”

“We will do everything possible to try to avoid a strike.

“We will be in talks to do that, but this is Unite’s strike and only Unite can call off that strike.”

Mr Grant said the strike could stem the flow of oil from the Forties pipeline system, in turn affecting supplies of fuel into Scotland.

Tension grew after union convener, Stephen Deans, was suspended by Ineos, then reinstated, in the row over the selection of a Labour candidate in Falkirk.

Mr Deans is chairman of Labour’s local constituency party and Unite in Scotland.

Ineos sailing “gunboat irresponsible diplomacy”

Unite regional secretary, Pat Rafferty, batted back claims of irresponsibility, saying the blame rested squarely with Ineos.

Mr Rafferty said: “Every time that we try to move things forward and try to get to a peaceful solution in this, the company take a step back and reject every offer that we are making here.

“This is gunboat irresponsible diplomacy that is taking place by the employer and they need to put an end to this and get back to dignified and reasonable negotiations where we can take things forward here.”

Speaking earlier, Ineos Petrochemicals UK chairman, Calum MacLean, warned that Unite’s threatened actions “could effectively shut much of Scotland”.

Mr MacLean said Ineos would do all it could to “minimise the harm” of the strike and it was drawing up contingency plans to import additional fuel supplies by sea.

The Scottish and UK governments are calling for resolution talks between the parties to avoid a strike.

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