Following the announcement by Ineos that the petrochemical plant at the Grangemouth complex is to close Angus MacDonald MSP (Falkirk East) has issued the following statement:
“This is clearly devastating news for the 800 workers and the town of Grangemouth. I am deeply disappointed by the decision taken by INEOS, and my sympathy goes out to the workforce and their families at this extremely challenging and difficult time.
I am seeking an early meeting with the Scottish Government to encourage them to re-double their efforts to find a buyer for the plant. I will of course, as the local MSP, work with anyone in search of a viable future for the plant – it can and should have a viable future as this plant is too important a site to the Falkirk district and Scottish economies.
I am saddened by the current stalemate between Ineos and Unite, however even at this late stage I would encourage both parties to continue dialogue – the workforce deserve nothing less.
I understand INEOS have informed both the Scottish and UK Government’s that that the refinery will stay open and management wish to restart full operations as soon as possible. I am therefore calling on INEOS to fire up the refinery today!
The Scottish Government has informed me that they have begun to look at contingency options, including actively pursuing potential buyers as a matter of extreme urgency, and I look forward to progress with that in the near future, including working with the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary John Swinney to secure a new owner of the petro-chemical plant.
In the meantime, fuel supplies continue to be delivered as usual and there is no current risk of disruption to supplies.”
Commenting on the news, Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said:
“This will come as devastating news to many of the workforce at the plant and they will be shocked at Ineos’ decision.
I would call upon Ineos to sit down with the staff and their representatives to try and find a way of resolving this dispute. I know that the Scottish Government will do everything that they can to help facilitate any discussions and to help find a long term solution for the plant.
I also plan to meet the Cabinet Secretary for Finance soon in order to discuss what measures can be put in place to help support those who may lose their jobs and what further action can be taken to find a long term future for the plant, given its importance to the local community.”
Responding to the announcement First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“This announcement by INEOS is hugely disappointing. It is, however, the position we always feared as it became apparent that the stalemate was not going to be broken.
“I will be speaking again to management and unions today to try and seek any further resolution we can.
“In preparing for this this extremely difficult position we have been pursuing the contingency of potential buyers – we will now be actively exploring this as the main option as a matter of urgency.
“The Scottish Government strongly believes the site has a positive future and we will continue to work with the UK Government and all other parties concerned to find a solution that supports the workers affected and the wider Scottish economy.”
SNP Group Leader on Falkirk Council, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, added:
“When we sought an urgent debate within Falkirk Council three weeks ago on Ineos, it was to offer the full support of the opposition SNP Group to any action being taken by the Labour / Tory coalition Administration of the council to play a positive role in the resolution of this dispute.
“Now that action is finally taking place I am repeating our offer as we believe that the voice of Falkirk Council should be a united one on such an important issue.
“The SNP Group having met with officials of Unite two weeks ago are more than happy to pledge time and effort to a genuinely all- party, non- party initiative to assist with proposals to save jobs and secure this plant’s future.”