Falkirk Council Labour Provost,Pat Reid, stunned opposition Councillors when he ruled that a motion submitted by SNP and Independent Councillors was not sufficiently urgent enough to be debated at a recent meeting of the council.
The Provost ruled that the matter of the potential closure of the plant with a potential 10,000 direct and indirect jobs at stake was “insufficiently urgent to warrant inclusion on the agenda.
The motion signed jointly by the SNP and Non Aligned Independent Groups called for a statement from the council’s political leaders of the outcome of meetings that may have taken place between council leaders and the management and trade unions at Ineos.
However, despite significant announcements over the last few days from both the management and trade unions at Grangemouth Provost Reid refused to accept the opposition motion. Instead he called on council chief executive, Mary Pitcaithly to make a statement. Councillors were then allowed to ask questions and make short comment.
In this the SNP pointed to the crisis at the plant in 2001 / 02 when the then owners, BP, threatened to close the entire Grangemouth complex. The council, at that tie under an SNP led Administration played a proactive role in securing the plants immediate future.
There was a collective intake of breath when council leader, Craig Martin, admitted that not only have there been no meetings between senior Councillors and the company none were planned as he had “not received an invitation to talks.”
Councillor Meiklejohn said,
“We went into the chambers to support any actions the Labour / Tory Coalition Administration were taking to save the jobs in Grangemouth. That offer remains on the table but to hear that neither the Labour leader or Tory depute leader of Falkirk Council have sought to meet the company management or the trade unions has shaken our confidence
Perhaps that is why Provost Reid, once again, suppressed debate.
Whatever the reason Provost Reid’s comment that the potential loss of 10,000 local jobs was not sufficiently urgent to debate in full beggars belief
We wanted a message from the elected Councillors of Falkirk Council that the parties were united in a pro-active campaign to save these jobs only to find that those with the power have not yet attempted to reach the table.
The employees of Ineos, their families, those whose jobs are tied to the plant, local businesses and the general public expect better.”