Belfast Telegraph

Strike could close Grangemouth oil refinery that provides most of Northern Ireland's fuel: warning

By Alan Jones

The chairman of an oil refinery that provides most of the fuel in Northern Ireland has claimed it could close after a union rejected an offer of new terms and conditions.

Two-thirds of workers at the Grangemouth oil refinery have refused to accept the deal as part of a survival plan for the site's future, their union said last night.

Unite described the ballot as an "overwhelming rejection of the company's blackmail".

Ineos said on Sunday that hundreds of workers had accepted their proposals – but Unite maintained that two out of three of its members had said no.

Jim Ratcliffe, founder and chairman of Ineos, one of the world's largest chemicals manufacturers, said the fate of the plant rested with its staff.

It is believed that a meeting of the company's shareholders will be held today.

Urging the company to return to talks at the conciliation service Acas, Pat Rafferty, Unite's Scottish secretary, said: "This resounding rejection of the company's cynical blackmail sends a clear message to the company.

"The people who have so far rejected Ineos' ultimatum are the backbone of the plant.

"The people of Grangemouth and Scotland will be expecting Jim Ratcliffe and the Ineos shareholders to now take heed. Drop the threats, fire up the plant and get around the table at Acas."

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