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GRANGEMOUTH’S bosses have wrested a £230 million loan guarantee from coalition ministers less than a year after calling pay cuts a matter of “survival.”
Yesterday petrochemical firm Ineos revelled in news that it had secured the underwriting for a new facility to import shale gas, with billionaire owner Jim Ratcliffe declaring it “one of the most important projects of recent times in Scotland.”
“Our ability to import US shale gas underpins the future of manufacturing at Grangemouth and across many businesses in Scotland.
“It is a vital step towards preserving the longterm future of the Grangemouth site and those businesses that depend upon its continued presence in Scotland,” he said.
Lib Dem treasury secretary Danny Alexander insisted the cash would help “to build a stronger economy and a fairer society across the country.”
But the announcement follows a bruising battle with the Unite union last October over what Ineos management described as a “survival plan” of drastic cuts to pay, pensions and employment terms.
The deal, which Unite accepted amid a lockout and threats to lay off the plant’s entire workforce, saw Grangemouth’s workers lose their final-salary pensions, while wages have been frozen and bonuses scrapped until 2018.
A Unite spokesman said yesterday the loan guarantee was “obviously a welcome move,” adding that Ineos’ workers had made “great sacrifices” to secure the plant’s future.
“Over the coming months it is vital that Ineos engages with its workforce and Unite in a positive manner to ensure there is the skilled manpower to deliver Grangemouth’s future,” he said.
“Grangemouth’s future doesn’t just rest on securing investment but also on the goodwill and hard work of a skilled workforce.”
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