Grangemouth workforce Unite over government proposals

Workers based at the Grangemouth oil refinery have slated the Scottish and UK governments over their failure to jointly develop proposals which could help protect hundreds of jobs at the complex.

Grangemouth Unite challenges first mininster

Unite survey

Unite released details of a survey involving hundreds of refinery workers, including contractors, ahead of the Scottish government ministerial statement on the Grangemouth Refinery, which was published on 22 February. 

The survey strongly indicates that the workforce believes there has been a collective failure to support them following the announcement by Petroineos in November last year to begin transitioning its Grangemouth refining operations. 

Under the company’s initial proposals, this transition could be complete as early as 2025 at which point the site would thereafter primarily operate as an import terminal facility only.

According to estimates, the Grangemouth complex contributes 4% of Scottish GDP and makes up approximately 8% of Scotland’s manufacturing base.

Survey findings

  • 93% agreed that the potential impact of any potential closure on the local Grangemouth economy and that of surrounding communities would be ‘severe’.
  • 88% responded saying that politicians were not doing enough to support and protect jobs at Grangemouth.
  • Only 11% expressed ‘confidence’ in finding a “like for like” job in the event of refinery operations ceasing at the Grangemouth site.
  • Only 3% cent expressed confidence in the ongoing “just transition” plans for oil and gas workers.

Government failure

Sharon Graham, Unite General Secretary, said: “Grangemouth workers are angry over the failure by the Scottish and UK governments to bring forward any proposals to support their livelihoods.

“Make no mistake that Unite will hold every politician to account for their inaction. We will leave no stone unturned in the fight for jobs at Grangemouth.” 

Unite continues to engage with Petroineos to explore proposals which could extend the lifespan of the oil refinery’s operations, and to develop alternative energy sources at the complex. 

Empty promises

The union has repeatedly taken aim at government over the failure to establish a worker-led just transition process, and the ‘empty promises’ issued by politicians to support industry developments including hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and biofuels.  

Around 220,000 jobs remain dependent on the oil and gas industry across the UK, with 93,600 estimated to be based in Scotland.  

Derek Thomson, Unite Scottish Secretary, added: Politicians at Holyrood and Westminster are hiding behind constitutional smokescreens when they should be working together to bring forward proposals which can support the Grangemouth workforce. 

“There has been an alarming abdication of any political responsibility over Grangemouth which is staggering as the complex is of enormous strategic importance to the Scottish economy.

“Unite’s survey shows that the vast majority of the workforce fear for their futures and that the just transition process for them is one full of empty promises. We have asked for every option to be put on the table in order to secure hundreds of highly skilled jobs but the glaring problem remains that government ministers haven’t even put down one.”