Fuel Risk As Grangemouth Crisis Deepens
The Grangemouth oil refinery is to be closed for at least a week, threatening fuel supplies in Scotland, as its owner complains of financial damage from a threatened strike.
The 48-hour stoppage was called off by the Unite union following the breakdown of talks through the night with the site's owners Ineos at the conciliation service Acas.
The company later confirmed operations would not be re-started this week.
Ineos said: "Grangemouth is financially distressed. The industrial action called by Unite the Union has inflicted significant further damage on the company.
"Ineos will put a proposal to the workforce tomorrow and expects a response on Monday, after the weekend. The company will review its position with its shareholders on Tuesday."
Unite had earlier accused Ineos of "scandalous behaviour" as their talks failed to resolve their bitter row over the treatment of a union convenor - accusing the firm of walking away and said it was acting to protect a national asset.
Unite's Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: "We are outraged that Ineos representatives walked away from Acas talks, after 16 hours of negotiation and on the cusp of an agreement, for the ludicrous reason that Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe instructed his management representatives to demand an apology on his behalf.
"Acas representatives informed us that we could not conclude an agreement to take to our members because a list of fresh demands were placed upon us and because 'Jim wants an apology' and that this was a 'deal-breaker'.
"I have never came across anything like this in over 30 years of employment relations and it is utterly reprehensible."
Unite accused Ineos of running the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical sites into a "damaging cold shutdown" which would affect fuel production and supply across Scotland.
Mr Rafferty continued: "As a result, Unite will now call off all industrial action with immediate effect in order to protect this national asset from the scandalous behaviour of its owner.
"The plant should now start the return to full production and there is no excuse for this not to happen."
Petrol and diesel production was suspended at the plant on Monday night in preparation for Sunday's walkout.
Experts had warned that the stoppage raised the prospect of shortages if the dispute was not resolved as all of Scotland's needs are met through supplies from Grangemouth.
The row centred on alleged unfair treatment of plant worker, Stephen Deans, who is also a union official. Unite and the company were already in dispute over terms and conditions at the plant.
Ineos had previously warned the petrochemical site would have to close by 2017 unless a "survival plan" involving cutting pension entitlement and pay was implemented.
The company argued that the refinery, located on the Firth of Forth, was not profitable - losing more than £576m in the last four years.
It claimed the pension scheme was £200m in deficit and pension costs of 65% of salary were "unsustainable".