Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TGNEWS to 80360 or you can email us Click here for details »
Final bid to save chemical plant
Workers walk through the Grangemouth oil refinery in Falkirk, Scotland, following a meeting where owners Ineos have decided to shut down the petrochemical side of the complex
Workers at a major petrochemicals site are expected to learn today whether last-ditch union proposals could salvage the plant.
Thousands of jobs are under threat after the shock decision to close the operation at Grangemouth in Scotland, following a dispute over pay and conditions.
Owner Ineos said it would appoint liquidators within the next few days after the workforce was split 50/50 on a survival plan for the loss-making site, which included accepting a pay freeze and the closure of the final salary pension scheme.
Unite said it had made fresh proposals in a "last-ditch" effort to save the plant, which members are planning to present to Ineos at a meeting today, according to reports.
The Scottish Government says it is not prepared to accept that closure is inevitable.
First Minister Alex Salmond said last night: "We strongly believe there is still room for negotiation between both parties. This is demonstrated by the fact that Unite have now put forward fresh proposals to the company.
"We should give time for the proper consideration of this offer, especially given that we know an agreement between both sides was very close last week."
He told BBC 2's Newsnight: "I hope these (proposals) can be favourably considered because these do seem to me, at first sight at least, to address the cost issues which the company had brought forward."
Around 800 workers are employed on the site, with an estimated 2,000 working for contractors and other firms supplying the site with goods and services.
The adjoining oil refinery will remain open, but Ineos said it had not yet decided whether to restart production after the site was closed last week because of the dispute.
The company said the plant is losing £10 million a month but it was ready to invest £300 million in Grangemouth if workers agreed to the new terms and conditions.
Unite's Scottish secretary, Pat Rafferty, said workers were "devastated" by the announcement.
"We have made further proposals in a last-ditch effort to stave off these catastrophic job losses which we believe is tantamount to economic and industrial vandalism," he said.
Unite and Ineos have been embroiled in a bitter row for weeks, initially over the treatment of Unite convenor Stephen Deans, who was involved in the controversy over the selection of a Labour candidate in Falkirk, where he is chairman of the constituency party.
He was suspended, then reinstated, and is facing an internal investigation, which is due to report tomorrow.
The Scottish Government said it was looking into potential buyers for the site as a contingency.
A spokesman for the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the business could still have a viable future.