Grangemouth Petrochemical Plant To Close?


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Wednesday was quite a sad day in Scotland. Owners of the Grangemouth Petrochemical Plant decided to close the plant, with the loss of about 800 jobs.

Chairman of Grangemouth Petrochemicals Calum MacLean said, "There's a lot of very emotional people in there and a lot of tears... It was the rejection of that survival plan - mainly by the Unite members - that has ultimately meant we can't deliver it."

The survival plan MacLean was referring to would have Ineos, owners of the plant, investing £300 million (which equals about $486 million) into the plant, only if workers would agree to a downgrade of pensions and a pay freeze. This "survival plan" was first brought about after a Unite union official was mistreated and the ensuing dispute led to a threat of a strike.

But all hope is not lost. Currently the Scottish government is holding an emergency meeting to see if anything can be done to keep Ineos from shutting down the plant. Even though the union and Ineos were working on negotiations, neither could agree on anything, and both left the table last week.

One extreme measure the Scottish government is considering to save the plant and the lost jobs is finding another buyer as soon as possible.

"The Scottish Government is clear that we are not prepared to accept that the closure of plant’s petrochemical facility is inevitable. We strongly believe there is still room for negotiation between both parties. This is demonstrated by the fact that Unite have now put forward fresh proposals to the company. I have also spoken personally this afternoon to both the Union leadership and to Jim Ratcliffe of Ineos," said First Minister Alex Salmond.

While the union has agreed to partake in future meetings to make concessions and agree to the "survival plan" to keep the plant open, Ineos said there were no plans to return to the decision to close the plant.

Currently the plant is under a cold shutdown because Ineos was concerned about the possible strike. Many politicians at least want Ineos to fire the plant back up for fear of lasting damage that could be caused otherwise.

Image via YouTube.