Britain’s largest union, Unite has launched legal action over the sacking of its vice-chair and Grangemouth convenor Mark Lyon, accusing Ineos of ‘hypocrisy’ and making a ‘mockery’ of justice.
The convenor with 25 years of service to the company was tried in his absence and told of his dismissal today (Tuesday 4 February) for not stopping the union from commenting over fears of job losses at the plant which were reported in The Daily Record on 2 December 2014.
The move follows the resignation of Unite’s other Grangemouth convenor Stevie Deans last year in protest of his treatment by the company and comes as Ineos drops its defamation claim over accusations by Unite that it had ‘victimised’ Mr Deans.
Accusing Ineos of ‘hypocrisy’, the union pointed to comments by the company when it withdrew its defamation claim last week. Ineos said that it wanted “to draw a line under the dispute”, yet proceeded to dismiss Mark Lyon.
The sacking of Mr Lyon comes in the face of significant medical evidence that he is suffering from a serious stress-related illness as a result of the treatment he has endured at the hands of the company.
Unite believes that Ineos was determined to rush through a disciplinary process against Mr Lyon, denying his legal representatives the appropriate time to prepare his defence.
Unite will be appealing the company’s decision and issuing an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal and victimisation for trade union reasons.
Pat Rafferty, Unite’s Scottish secretary, said: “Once again, a decent man and loyal employee has been hounded out of his job by Ineos.
“The rank hypocrisy of Ineos knows no bounds. The company withdrew its defamation action against Unite to “draw a line under the dispute”, yet at the same time it was drafting a letter dismissing a Unite convenor.
“Mark Lyon has been subjected to a grotesque mockery of the disciplinary system which saw him tried in his absence. While he attended a doctor’s appointment, his employer was sacking him on trumped up charges. From start to finish, this has been a circus and reflects extremely poorly on Ineos.
“Ineos has run away from the defamation action and Unite stands by its assertion that Stevie Deans was victimised. Ineos has no interest in drawing a line and moving forward, just confrontation and conflict.
“We would urge Ineos to think again about a decision that is bound to send shock waves through the workforce. Worryingly skilled people are choosing to leave Grangemouth. Ineos needs to realise that this is not a time for further unrest and that they need to get the workforce on side to deliver a successful future.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.