Unite, the country's biggest union, is calling on Ineos' management to step back from the brink as workers at the Grangemouth site in Scotland delivered an overwhelming vote in favour of industrial action today (27 September) in a dispute over the treatment of a trade union representative.
On a 86 per cent turnout 90.6 per cent of workers voted for industrial action short of a strike with 9.4 per cent voting against. 81.4 per cent voted for strike action and 18.6 per cent voted against with one spoilt ballot paper.
Unite Scottish regional secretary Pat Rafferty said:"This overwhelming result reflects the genuine ill-feeling held by the Grangemouth workforce, because of the grossly unfair treatment of Stephen Deans who has 24 years of loyal service at the site.
"Despite the ongoing threats of plant closures at the Grangemouth site, the workforce are determined to support their colleague and to bring this injustice to an end. This tight knit community has no tolerance for the unfair treatment of a trade unionist because they know that an attack against one is an attack against all.
"We strongly urge Mr Rattcliffe and his team to digest this result and then pick up the phone and talk to us about a peaceful resolution to the wholly unnecessary approach Ineos is taking here.
"The strength of this ballot result should be a wake-up call to management to step back from the brink and stop playing Russian roulette with the Grangemouth site."
The dispute has arisen as a result of Ineos placing Stephen Deans under unwarranted investigation reputedly because of issues resulting from Falkirk constituency Labour party, of which Mr Deans is the chair. He could be sacked if the company rules against him.
However, it is a matter of fact that Stephen Deans did nothing wrong within Falkirk CLP as it worked to select a Labour party candidate to replace the disgraced MP Eric Joyce. This was made clear by the Labour party on Friday 6 September and more importantly by Police Scotland in August. An internal Ineos investigation also found there was no case to answer by Mr Deans.
Unite is deeply concerned that, irrespective of these facts, Ineos, which is majority-owned by Jim Ratcliffe, is continuing with a campaign of unfair treatment against an innocent employee. The union has repeatedly made clear to Mr Ratcliffe and his HR team that it views their actions as nothing other than the unfair treatment of a trade union representative, and that this will not be tolerated.
The Ineos refinery, which sits on the Firth of Forth, is the only refinery north of the border and is Scotland's main fuel supplier. The plant powers the Forties pipeline which is connected to the oil fields in the North Sea and supplies 30 per cent of the UK's North Sea oil.
Unite met with John Swinney SNP cabinet secretary for finance, employment and sustainable growth on Friday 13 September to urge the minister to put pressure on Ineos' management to end the unfair campaign.
The union has also held meetings with BP which owns the Forties pipeline and has written to Petrochina which has a 50 per cent stake in the Ineos refinery to urge the stakeholders to get Ineos to return to peaceful relations with its workforce.
For further information contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315, Alex Flynn on 07967 665 869 and for Scottish enquiries Peter Welsh on 07810 157 931
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland's largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.