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Ineos consults on potential closure of site

The company said not all the jobs will be lost if it decides to close the Seal Sands Acrylonitrile plant on Teesside.

(Andrew Milligan/PA)
(Andrew Milligan/PA)

By Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent

Chemicals giant Ineos has launched a consultation on the potential closure of a manufacturing plant which employs more than 220 workers.

The company said not all the jobs will be lost if it decides to close the Seal Sands Acrylonitrile plant on Teesside because of other activities at the site, which Ineos has owned for over a decade.

A statement said that despite investing more than £180 million to counter decades of “significant” underinvestment, the company believes nothing more can be done to ensure operations are safe and economically viable.

It would require another £180 million just to meet Ineos standards and environmental regulations, said a statement.

The lesson for us and other UK manufacturers is that constant reinvestment is vital for long-term prosperity Paul Overment

“The acrylonitrile process needs careful management and involves handling significant quantities of hazardous material.

“The company feels that it would not be possible to guarantee the long-term safety of our employees or our neighbours through continued operation of the plant and have thus reluctantly concluded that we should consider the option to close.”

Paul Overment of Ineos said: “After considering many options, we feel that we must now consult with employees on the potential closure of the plant.

“We do so with a heavy heart but there is no escaping the fact that decades of underinvestment on the site have led us to this point.

“Manufacturing assets need constant renewal if they are to survive. The last 10 years have proven that it is almost impossible to play catch-up and the lesson for us and other UK manufacturers is that constant reinvestment is vital for long-term prosperity.”

We shouldn’t forget Ineos is owned by the richest man in the UK – this is a multinational business that made over £2 billion last year Tom Allison

GMB union official Tom Allison said: “This news is a body blow to Teesside with thousands of jobs at threat in the local supply chain.

“We have members working on contracts at Seal Sands who are wracked with worry today about what the future holds.

“We shouldn’t forget Ineos is owned by the richest man in the UK – this is a multinational business that made over £2 billion last year.

“Sir Jim Ratcliffe has cash for a cycling team but apparently not to invest in making this plant safe and for the future. It’s shameful that he’s preparing to wash his hands of these jobs and this community.”

Unite regional officer Tan Rashid said: “This announcement is a serious blow to the manufacturing economy of the North East with the possible threat to more than 200 jobs.

“It is painful news for the workforce and their families, and Unite is calling for urgent talks with Ineos management to explore all options to keep the plant operating as a going concern.

“The region can ill-afford to lose these highly skilled jobs, and we will be giving maximum support to our members in the days and weeks ahead during this stressful time.”

PA

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