Scottish workers continue to fight against Ineos for their future

23.10.2013

Members of IndustriALL Global Union’s UK affiliate Unite the Union at INEOS in Grangemouth, Scotland keeps on resisting the company’s outrageous threats and intimidations.

Towards the end of last week, Ineos shamefully gave workers with a ‘sign or be sacked’ ultimatum to slash jobs, pay and pensions with a deadline by 6pm Monday 21 October. As a response, Unite the Union urged Grangemouth workers not to give in to Ineos’ ‘menacing’ tactics to sign away their rights since this would create a two tier workforce and strip away collective rights. Unite also questioned the legality of the company’s actions and vowed not to allow workers being ‘menaced’ into signing away their livelihoods.

In the meantime, Unite the Union called again on Ineos to abandon its plans to impose detrimental new terms on its Grangemouth workforce and instead to reopen the plant and return to mediated negotiations to secure the site's future. At the Acas talks, Unite committed to conducting no industrial action ballots or industrial action before 31 December 2013.

Unite the Union also called on the anti-avoidance arm of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to investigate the tax affairs of the Ineos Group amid concerns that the company's arrangements ‘obfuscate the true position of Ineos' UK activities’. The formal request followed questions about apparent accounting contradictions in Ineos’ ‘Chemical’ accounts which simultaneously paint both a gloomy and upbeat assessment of the company's finances and future profitability.  
 
The Grangemouth workers and their union, together with local politicians, communities and supporters from across Scotland organized a demonstration and rally on Sunday, October 20 to urge Ineos to get the plant working and drop their tactics of intimidation. The demonstration appealed to the community and the Scottish people to support the Grangemouth workforce, warning that Ineos bosses risk destroying good Scottish jobs as they hold the country to ransom through their irresponsible behaviour.

At the end of the so-called deadline given by INEOS, 665, over 65 per cent (out of 80 per cent of the workforce represented by Unite) have rejected the company’s cynical attempt to intimidate the workforce. Unite the Union then urged the company back to ACAS talks since the resounding rejection of the company’s cynical blackmail sent a clear message to INEOS.

Along with this, INEOS has contracted a PR firm which advertises itself as having “extensive experience of dealing with crisis situations including industrial disputes, fatal accidents, profit warnings, child labour, product failures, customer service issues, redundancies and restructuring”. The firm has been running what the Unite union described as a `campaign of fear' designed to terrify the 1,400 strong workforce into believing that the site is on the verge of collapse, despite a buoyant energy market, in order to force through swingeing cuts to their pay, jobs and pensions.

Enough is enough

said Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union.

Our global union family, particularly our affiliates in the countries where INEOS has operations, will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Grangemouth workers and their union Unite.

IndustriALL calls all its affiliates to take action and send letters of protest to INEOS through the take action box on the right.