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The petrochemical plant at Grangemouth will be fired up today after workers accepted inferior terms and conditions issued to them by Ineos.
In a press conference before Britain’s media, Ineos chairman Callum MacLean said that a “no strike” clause had been agreed over forthcoming 60 day consultation period.
This consultation is expected to confirm pay freezes, changes in shift patterns and the closure of the final salary pension scheme.
Despite the company being prepared to invest £300m, Mr Maclean refused to rule out further redundancies over the coming months.
Welcoming the decision to re-open the plant, Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary said:
“This decision is clearly very welcome. Relief will ring right round the Grangemouth community, and across Scotland today. Hundreds of jobs that would have been lost can now be saved and £300 million will be invested into the plant.
“Grangemouth is the powerhouse of the Scottish economy – it now has a fighting chance of upholding this crucial role into the future.
“Obviously today’s news is tinged with sadness – decent men and women are being asked to make sacrifices to hold onto their jobs, but the clear wish of our members is that we work with the company to implement its proposals.
“Unite has worked tirelessly to save Grangemouth because we are totally committed to this plant and its incredible workforce. We will now sit down with Ineos to consult on the company’s proposals.”
A Facebook page, ‘Take Grangemouth into Public Ownership’ which has gained 5,000 ‘likes’ in under 48 hours released a statement on their page urging nationalisation of the plant.
It read: “In less than two days, this page has reached 5000 likes – and there’s a lesson to be learnt from that.
Nationalisation isn’t a taboo word – people know it is a sensible and realistic solution to an experiment in privatisation that has failed everyone but a tiny, millionaire few. Taking the energy industry into full public ownership would be an incredibly popular move, and political parties dodge the issue at their own peril.
There are some who will always tell us that public ownership can’t work, but that has always been a lie. From the trains, to energy, to – increasingly – the NHS, privatisation is always and everywhere a disaster: costs up, wages down, state subsidies up, user satisfaction down. Trying to run vital services – services people rely on to live – at a profit was always a stupid idea.
We don’t yet know the future of Grangemouth, but let’s be absolutely clear that this was the battle not the war. And the tide is turning.