Jim Ratcliffe the billionaire owner of Ineos confirmed to the work force today that the petrochemical plant at the Grangemouth complex is to close. The site has been on lockdown for a week in a ‘corporate strike’ by the company as it tried strong-arm t …

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Jim Ratcliffe the billionaire owner of Ineos confirmed to the work force today that the petrochemical plant at the Grangemouth complex is to close.

The site has been on lockdown for a week in a ‘corporate strike’ by the company as it tried strong-arm tactics to force an imposition on the workforce to dilute their terms and conditions.

Previously Jim Ratcliffe said that if the petrochemical plant closed it was likely the refinery would go too. The tactics by this company backfired as more than half of the 1,350 workforce, and, two-thirds of Unite members had rejected the changes to contracts in a resounding show of strength.

Calum MacLean, chairman of Ineos Grangemouth, told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme:

“What is important here is that we have asked the unions to give us an assurance that there will be no strike action during the consultation period, which is the 45 to 60 days when we are going to sit down and negotiate with the employees and talk about the changes we are trying to impose.

Unite gave this assurance over strike action and using the worlds ‘negotiate’ and ‘impose’ in the same sentence is a contradiction in terms.

The company has said the plant, which has been shut down for a week because of the corporate strike, claims it is losing £10m a month. However, Unite asked Richard Murphy of the Tax Justice Network to assess these claims and he concluded that the claim of a £579m “loss” is misleading, as it includes capital spending and is cash flow.

Richard Murphy asserted that Ineos Chemicals Grangemouth Ltd added special one-off measures to make the accounts look worse than they were, including the write-off in valuation of the petro-chemical plant. If these points are correct than this fundamentally undermines the company’s economic case. Mr Murphy says the pension fund also gained £7m, sales grew 50% and operating profit grew by 56%.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney revealed on Monday that the Scottish government had been trying to find a buyer for the site, and has had discussions “with other players”.

You can find out more about the background of this case here.

You can send your message of support to the workers by clicking here.


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