Talks between Ineos and Unite, Britain’s largest trade union and IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, have come to an abrupt end after company representatives walked out demanding an apology from the union.
The dispute at Ineos, one of the major multinational companies manufacturing petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and oil products, in Scotland, has its background in the harassment and threats of sacking of a Unite the Union elected representative. Escalating over the past weeks, the parties finally sat down to try to resolve the conflict. But after several hours of negotiations, and on the brink of an agreement, Ineos representatives walked out of the talks in the early hours of 16 October. Unite had offered Ineos every proposal they could make but were met with a list of new demands, including one for an apology to Ineos Chairman Jim Ratcliffe.
According to Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty the apology was presented as a deal breaker:
“I have never come across anything like this in over thirty years of employment relations and it is utterly reprehensible. It is absolutely incredible that the future of this site, its workforce - both permanent and contracted employees - and the national interest has been totally compromised by one man's out of control ego.“
Unite the Union has responded by calling off all industrial action by guaranteeing not to go on strike during the negotiations to protect the Grangemouth site, which is an important asset for all the parties. Unite the Union is fully committed to avoiding any damage with cold shutdown to ensure fuel production and supply across Scotland, and the safety of the site and the surrounding areas.
IndustriALL Global Union General Secretary Jyrki Raina says:
“It is imperative that Ineos refrain from any irresponsible behaviour that would jeopardize the future of the Grangemouth site. IndustriALL Global Union calls on Ineos to follow Unite’s exemplary responsible behavior by returning to the negotiation table and giving full consideration to the unions’ legitimate demands.”
IndustriALL Global Union stands with Unite the Union and its members in Grangemouth, and fully supports their demands for a fair and just resolution of this vicious assault over the union convener, as well as its members. We are prepared to mobilize our member unions all over the world to launch a protest campaign targeting all subsidiaries and supply chains of Ineos and PetroChina.