Grangemouth Port Strike Called Off

21.03.2016 -

A dockworkers strike at the Port of Grangemouth in Scotland that had threatened to hit supplies of refinery fuel and thus petrochemicals to southern Scotland and northern England ended on Mar. 18 as the dockers unexpectedly voted to return to work.

The action to protest shift changes threatened to escalate last week when the trade union Unite set up picket lines on property adjoining a road used by tankers to access the refinery owned by Petroineos, a joint venture of chemical giants Ineos and PetroChina.

Port authorities, which termed the strike “unjustified,” had called on the union to call off its picket of the Petroineos site as the joint venture was not a party to the dispute.

Unite, which was at the center of a protracted industrial action at Ineos’ Grangemouth complex in 2013, had planned to continue the strike until just after Easter, followed by a complete ban on overtime.

“We are pleased that Forth Port's management have lifted their imposition on our members' shift rotas and agreed to enter into conciliation,” the union said in a statement released to British media.

"Our strike action will now be suspended with immediate effect and picket lines will be lifted, enabling full operations at the port to get under way again. This is an important first step on the path to resolving this dispute,” Unite added.

Ineos’ first shipment of shale gas-derived ethylene is due to arrive in Europe later this week, but the liquid gas is headed for the company’s complex at Rafnes, Norway.

The Port of Grangemouth handles more than 150,000 containers annually, with daily sailings to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Felixstowe and Hamburg.