Just under half of all workers at the Grangemouth petro-chemicals complex who responded to a management offer had rejected new pay and conditions offered by Ineos, the plant’s owners by the 6pm deadline this evening.
Officials at Unite, the trade union, said that it had received forms from 665 workers rejecting the offer on pay and pensions. The total workforce comprises 1,350 people. Management said on Sunday this week that it received ‘about’ 300 return forms in favour of its offer.
Of the 995 workers who replied by the deadline, they rejected by a ratio of just over 2:1 the management offer.
The plant remains closed and a spokesman for Ineos said management would meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to consider their options. The company had earlier warned that the Grangemouth complex would close in 2017 without new investment and changes to workers’ pay and conditions.
The 2.6 square-mile refinery and petrochemical site was shut down ahead of a planned strike by Unite members. It remains closed despite the 48-hour strike, which had been due to begin on Sunday, being called off. The union has now promised no strikes and said it was prepared to negotiate.
The refinery, which has an annual capacity of 10 million tonnes, provides most of the fuel in Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland.
Ed Davey, the UK Energy Minister, said: “I urge for both parties involved to enter into talks about the long term future of the Grangemouth plant and reach a fair, sustainable resolution.
“We have been working closely with the fuel industry and Scottish Government to put robust alternative supply routes in place in the case of a strike, which means that motorists can carry on as normal and other impacts will be kept to a minimum.”
Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, had earlier urged management and unions ‘to find common ground’.