Glimmer of Hope for Grangemouth After Union Rethink

24.10.2013 -

Following a meeting between shop stewards of the Scottish trade union United and representatives of Ineos management on the morning of Oct. 24, it appeared as if the union was prepared to embrace the company's survival plan for the Grangemouth petrochemical site, despite a majority vote of members three days earlier not to do so.

The turnaround came on the heels of an Oct. 23 announcement by Ineos that it would close the site permanently, citing the workforce's rejection of a wage freeze and pension cuts, and the UK government's appeal to the now Swiss-based group to reconsider.

Without giving details, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the union had made "a number of recommendations" to Ineos following the meeting, adding that he was "optimistic that we will have a positive response within the next 24 hours or so."

Reports from the UK, however, said that Ineos planned to first wait for the outcome of "talks with the political sector," also on Oct. 24 - presumably about the chances for state aid to the company's proposed terminal to import US shale gas.

BBC Scotland quoted Ineos CEO Tom Crotty as saying that Grangemouth "would listen to what workers had to say." Previously, the group had said a redundancy plan was all it had left to discuss.