Commenting on the news that Ineos is to close its petrochemical plant at Grangemouth, Alistair Carmichael, MP, the Scottish Office minister in the UK Government, said: “There is no doubting the seriousness of this issue for Scotland’s economic portfolio.
“This is grim news for the 800 workers whose jobs are now at risk; for the town of Falkirk and surrounding area. It is also very bad news for Scotland as a whole.
Ministers at Holyrood and at Westminster are now working to find an alternative future for the petrochemicals plant and to put in place arrangements for alternative fuel supplies.
Carmichael added: “Grangemouth is a very important part of Scotland’s industrial portfolio. I want the focus of Scotland’s two governments in London and Edinburgh now to be on doing all we can to save these 800 crucial jobs.All the way through this process both sides have said they believe the plant has a future and I also believe that to be the case.
If the owner is not going to be Ineos, then it must be someone else. This is too essential a site for our economy and capability here in Scotland to let it slip away without exhausting every avenue we can in order to keep it open.”
The UK and Scottish Governments are working closely together on this issue and continue to share information.
Meanwhile, CarmichaeI is taking forward further discussions with the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and Industry Minister Vince Cable to help scope out the potential for a new buyer.
Ineos said liquidators for the petrochemical plant would be appointed within a week and Ineos chairman and founder Jim Ratcliffe had said at the weekend that if the petrochemical plant closed it was likely the refinery would go as well.
The refinery provides most of the petro-fuel for all of Scotland, the north of England and Northern Ireland.
In a statement released after the staff meeting, a spokesman for Ineos said: “The company made it clear that rejection of change would result in closure. Regrettably, the union advised union members to reject any form of change. The outcome of the employee vote on the company’s survival plan was a 50/50 split.
“Within this, almost all of the administrative staff voted for the company’s plan but a large majority of shop floor employees voted to reject it.
“The shareholders met yesterday to consider the future of the business following the result of the employee vote.
“Sadly, the shareholders reached the conclusion that they could not see a future for Grangemouth without change and therefore could no longer continue to fund the business.”