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Unite accuses Ineos of 'cynical blackmail' and th...

Unite accuses Ineos of ‘cynical blackmail’ and threatens legal action

17 October 2013

The country’s largest union Unite, urged Grangemouth workers not to give into Ineos’ ‘menacing’ tactics to sign away their rights, saying it was looking to take legal action over the company’s ‘sign or be sacked’ ultimatum to slash jobs, pay and pensions.

The union accused the company of ‘cynical blackmail’, as it told workers that they could lose their jobs and be re-employed on poorer terms unless they agreed to give up their final salary pension, and accept pay freezes and pay cuts by 18:00 on Monday 21 October.

Expressing shock over the move - which will create a two tier workforce and strip away collective rights - the union questioned the legality of the company’s actions and vowed not to allow workers being ‘menaced’ into signing away their livelihoods.

Commenting, Pat Rafferty Unite Scottish secretary, said: “This is cynical blackmail from a company that is putting a gun to the heads of its loyal workforce to slash pay, pensions and jobs.

“We are considering taking legal action over the company’s menacing tactics and urge members not to be threatened into signing their livelihoods away.

“It is increasingly clear that the company is deliberately generating a dispute and hiding behind fancy accounting to attack its own workforce.

“Menaces and threats will not secure the future of Grangemouth which now rests in the hands of a few faceless unaccountable shareholders.

“We will not allow such an important national asset to be held to ransom and urge Ineos to drop the blackmail and engage meaningfully with the workforce over a transitional agreement.”

Today’s announcement comes after experts blew a hole in Ineos’ claims over its finances. An independent analysis released by Unite shows that Ineos ‘Chemicals’ expects to make profits of half a billion pounds in the coming years and that labour costs including pensions account for just under 17 per cent of total turnover. 

The company also claims the pension fund is in serious difficulties but fails to mention in press statements that the pension fund actually made a gain of £7.2 million in 2012.

ENDS

For more information, contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315, Peter Welsh on 07810 157931 or Alex Flynn on 07967 665869.

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