Job losses as Grangemouth petrochemical plant to close

Grangemouth petrochemical plant is to close, bringing job losses, it has been announced. Liquidators will be appointed within the week, says owner Ineos.

Up to 800 jobs are under threat.

The site's well-known oil refinery will be kept open, provided the threat of strike action is lifted, but the future of the refinery will now have to be decided.

David Cameron wants Swiss firm Ineos to continue to talk with trade unions in a bid to resolve the dispute over pensions and conditions, his spokesman said this morning.

He added that "this is a disappointing outcome... Even at this stage we would continue to urge both parties who have been involved in a dispute over this to continue to try and find a way of continuing their dialogue."

Calum MacLean, Grangemouth Petrochemicals chairman, says, “This is a hugely sad day for everyone at Grangemouth. We have tried our hardest to convince employees of the need for change but unsuccessfully. There was only ever going to be one outcome to this story if nothing changed and we continued to lose money”.

The breakdown of the ACAS talks last week, along with Unite's refusal to provide a no-strike guarantee, led to the company approaching employees direct. Employees were asked to support the changes necessary to save the business, but agreement could was not made, with unions advising members against concession.

Grangemouth Petrochemicals chairman said "this is a very sad day for everyone at Grangemouth" as a vote on the company's Survival Plan saw a 50/50 split. City A.M.'s Marion Dakers writes yesterday:

Unite the union said last night that 665 of Grangemouth’s 1,350 workers had rejected the proposals once a 6pm deadline had passed, leaving talks with Ineos at a standstill.

The union has slammed Ineos as “holding Scotland to ransom” by keeping Grangemouth out of action, while politicians in Westminster and Holyrood have urged the firm to come to a compromise.

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Shareholders gathered yesterday to discuss the future of the business, coming to the conclusion that, without change, the business could no longer be funded.

Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint will bring up the closure in the House of Commons. She tweets: