IndustriALL Global Union affiliate Unite the Union has condemned the sale of the Forties pipeline to Ineos.
On Monday 3 April, Ineos announced that it had agreed to buy the pipeline from BP for US $250 million. Ineos is controlled by billionaire tax-avoider Jim Ratcliffe, who previously bought the Grangemouth refinery from BP. Ineos relocated from the UK to Switzerland in 2010 to avoid tax.
Unite was involved in major disputes with Ineos in 2008 and 2013, when Ratcliffe’s company attacked pensions and threatened to shut the plant if the union refused to accept new conditions.
Unite has called for a public inquiry into the sale.
Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said:
“The Forties Pipeline System carries a massive amount of the UK’s oil. Grangemouth is the one of the country’s major refineries. Both of these pieces of vital national infrastructure could soon be effectively in the hands of one man. That is an incredible amount of power.
“We need a national debate now. Do our politicians believe in an economy where power is widely held and used for the benefit of us all, or are they happy with power in the hands of a tiny minority whose biggest concern is their own personal benefit?
“Is it right, or sensible, to give the power to turn off the taps - and bring the entire country to a standstill - to one private company, without any democratic involvement or oversight?”
IndustriALL energy director Diana Junquera Curiel said:
“It is really dangerous to have so much vital infrastructure controlled by one man. This is in no one’s interest.”
The Forties Pipeline System carries oil 378 kilometres from a number of North Sea platforms to the Grangemouth refinery and a number of ports on the mainland. The pipeline carries 450,000 barrels of oil per day, or about 40% of UK production.