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Grangemouth refinery to close its plant for at least a month
Apr '08
INEOS has warned that the Unite trade union's proposed strike at Grangemouth, Scotland's only crude oil refinery will close its plant for at least a month. The strike has been called by the Unite trade union, on the 27th and 28th April. The union action has left INEOS with no option but to begin shutting down the site immediately. Fuel shortages are likely to begin in Scotland as early as Friday, April 25th, and the whole of Scotland could be without fuel for at least a month.

The decision to start shutting down Grangemouth has been taken by INEOS on safety grounds. It is important that the plant is not only shut down safely but also remains safe through the strike period and this process can take many days. These measures are being forced on INEOS by the actions of the Unite trade union. Despite ongoing negotiations, company concessions and a commitment from INEOS that no changes will be made to existing pensions before April next year, the union have decided to rush straight to industrial action.

The union's rush to strike will also effectively close down a large proportion of the North Sea oil production and some gas production. A large proportion of North Sea Oil and Gas goes through Grangemouth, and supplies will dry up within a few days, affecting the whole of the UK.

Tom Crotty, CEO INEOS Olefins, said “The union is well aware that a 48 hour strike will cause fuel chaos in Scotland and the North of England for weeks on end. This is a huge oil refinery – and they know you can't just turn it on and off like a tap. A month is our best guess but safety considerations will be at the forefront of everything we do. It is not our wish to suspend production at Grangemouth but the Unite trade union has given us no choice in the matter. They've deliberately chosen a course of action that is the minimum pain for them, but which will inflict the maximum pain on Scotland and the whole UK”.

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