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Treasury to guarantee £230m Grangemouth loan

Grangemouth oil refinery in Falkirk, Scotland. Credit: PA

The Treasury will guarantee a £230m loan for Grangemouth petrochemichal plant in Scotland to build the contintent's largest ethane storage tank, it announced today.

The Government said the move would protect "thousands" of Scottish jobs.

Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of Grangemouth operator Ineos, said: “Without doubt, this is one of the most important projects of recent times in Scotland, with implications to be felt right across the UK, not only for employment but also for manufacturing in general."

PM orders inquiry into tactics used by trade unions

The Prime Minister has ordered an inquiry into the tactics used by trade unions, following claims of intimidation during the dispute at the Grangemouth oil refinery, in Scotland.

But the move has been dismissed, by union leaders, as an election stunt.


Burnham questions motives over union disputes inquiry

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said he wanted reassurances that that a Government-backed inquiry into the conduct of industrial disputes was not a "political call".

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said he wanted reassurances that a Government-backed inquiry was not a 'political call'. Credit: BBC/Sunday Politics

"Of course if there's been intimidation it's unacceptable and that should apply to unions as well as employers," he told BBC One's Sunday Politics show.

"I think I need reassurance that this isn't a political call by Mr Cameron designed to report near the election, so you know we'll see how this develops."

TUC general secretary attacks union disputes inquiry

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady has hit out at the Government's commissioning of an independent review into industrial disputes - and union tactics in particular - saying:

This has nothing to do with good industrial relations and is simply part of the Conservative Party's general election campaign.

We already have some of the most restrictive union laws in the democratic world. Too many Conservatives seem to think that cheap anti-union jibes will detract from the cost of living crisis. The polls suggest they are wrong.

Unions reject disputes inquiry as 'Tory election stunt'

Unite said there is no need for an inquiry with the dispute at the Grangemouth oil refinery in Falkirk now "settled". Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Union officials have dismissed the Government-ordered independent inquiry into industrial disputes as politically motivated and a distraction to the "cost of living crisis".

A Unite spokesman said: "Vince Cable may not have noticed but the Grangemouth dispute has been settled. This review is nothing more than a Tory election stunt which no trade unionist will collaborate with."

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny agreed, saying the announcement "seems like another sop to the Tory backbenches".

He said the "real scandal at Grangemouth" concerned the chairman of the refinery's owners Ineos, Jim Ratcliffe, and how he was "able with impunity to hold the country to ransom".

Cable and Maude agree to differ on target of inquiry

Vince Cable and Francis Maude will receive a joint report on conduct in industrial disputes within six months. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire and Dave Thompson/PA Wire

The joint endorsement of the review into industrial disputes by the Conservative's Francis Maude and the Liberal Democrat's Vince Cable has suggested renewed coalition tensions on the main target of the inquiry.

Mr Maude said the review would chiefly examine: "Allegations about trade union industrial intimidation tactics, including attempts to sabotage businesses supply chains and harass employers' families."

Mr Cable, though, stressed the review would examine wrongdoing on both sides of industrial disputes.

He added: "There are rogue unions but there are also rogue employers, some of whom have in the past engaged in illegal tactics like blacklisting."


Inquiry to consider new laws against union 'bullying'

Bruce Carr QC's inquiry will examine whether current laws are sufficient to prevent what Government sources described as "inappropriate or intimidatory actions" by trade unions.

The Government-ordered review will examine several areas of industrial disputes, including:

  • Underlying causes of industrial relations difficulties in affected industries
  • Employer practices, including worker "blacklisting"
  • Whether police are empowered to respond to complaints
  • Potential impact on the UK's critical national infrastructure
  • Consequences for investor confidence in key sectors

Mr Carr, a leading industrial relations lawyer, will head a three-strong panel alongside a representative from both the employers and the unions.

Upon formation, it has six months to gather evidence and file a joint report on recommendations to Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Cameron orders inquiry into 'union intimidation' claims

The review follows claims that Unite sought to intimidate executives from Ineos, the Grangemouth refinery's owners. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered a wide-ranging inquiry into industrial disputes, including alleged intimidation tactics of trade unions.

The review, led by Bruce Carr QC, will examine, in particular, claims that "leverage" tactics have been employed by the unions in disputes.

The Government-ordered inquiry follows the bitter industrial dispute that almost led to the closure of the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland.

The Unite union dismissed the move as a "Tory election stunt" and said no worker body would "collaborate" with it.

Deans believed he was being treated as 'enemy within'

Steven Deans believed he was being treated as the "enemy within" after 25 years of working at the plant, according to Unite.

Mr Deans accused the company of leaking emails to the media to "smear his reputation", in his resignation latter to Ineos.

He told the Unite meeting: "The hurt to my family is unforgivable and I will not allow management to take away my dignity and self-respect any further."

The union said it is considering "what steps can be taken on Mr Deans' behalf" without diminishing its commitment to the survival plan workers signed with Ineos last week.

Unite's Grangemouth chief resigns

Steven Deans, the Unite union's representative at the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland, was at the centre of a dispute which led to the refinery's bosses threatening to shut down the whole site.

He has now resigned a day before he was due to meet his employer, Ineos.

Mr Deans was also chairman of the Labour party in nearby Falkirk, and was accused of trying to install Unite's choice as Labour candidate for MP. ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports:

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