Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “Only hours before we re-enter crucial Acas talks, it is with great anger that we feel the need to counter blatant lies publicised by Ineos this morning (Tuesday 15th October).
"The company has claimed Unite refused to engage in any discussions about protecting North Sea oil flows and security of supply for Scotland; this is utter nonsense.
“Unite has consistently offered to keep the site on ‘hot standby’ in the event of a strike, providing competent and skilled cover that would protect the vitality of the refinery and petrochemical operations while maintaining plant safety, as per the recommendations set by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
“Ineos accepted this offer over the weekend; it was reported widely in the media, yet after talks started at Acas yesterday media sources began confirming that Ineos has commenced a cold shutdown of the Grangemouth site. This is fact.
“It is also ridiculous for the company to express disappointment at the presence of Stephen Deans at these Acas talks. Stephen is a senior Unite representative at Ineos, a crucial part of the negotiating committee and a trusted and respected advocate of the workforce. Company representatives were told yesterday by Acas that if Stephen’s presence created any conflict of interest then he would leave the talks. The company agreed fully with his attendance at these talks and posed no objection. This is also fact.
“Crucially, Unite also offered through the auspices of the Acas senior conciliator a firm proposal that would end the dispute at Grangemouth and avoid damaging strikes. Ineos rejected this proposal and offered no alternatives. This, again, is also fact.
“Unite has made all of the running to resolve this dispute. Ineos has offered nothing and its getting increasingly difficult to take the company seriously. Grangemouth is Scotland's premier industrial site. It is a world class facility but it is being degraded by the conduct of its managers.
“The impression this is giving to the workforce and the wider business world is one that Ineos is more interested in short-term headlines than a long-term, secure future for Scotland's workers and energy industry.
"I appeal to Ineos now: No more of this. Your wild distortions are ruining the scope for talks to be constructive. If these talks fail, on your head be it.”
Contact Peter Welsh on 07810 157931
- 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.