Agreement to ACAS intervention

Strike suspended as talks planned at Grangemouth

Port of Grangemouth
Port of Grangemouth

A strike at the Port of Grangemouth is to be be suspended to allow the conciliation service ACAS to attempt a resolution to the dispute.

Workers at Scotland’s largest container facility walked out this week following changes to shift patterns.

The Unite union said the changes were tantamount to a pay cut and its members voted to strike until 29 March.

A joint statement issued tonight said:  “In an attempt to end the current industrial action both Unite and Forth Ports will meet with ACAS next week to discuss the new shift pattern.

“Therefore the strike and overtime ban will be suspended from 0600 Monday and the Company will defer implementing the new shift roster to allow talks to take place early next week.”

Unite regional officer Sandy Smart earlier this week warned of a prolonged strike, claiming Forth Ports were guilty of “a draconian approach to employment relations”.

Forth Ports described the action as “unjustified” and said it was proposing alterations to shift patterns “in response to the changing needs of our customers, whose vessels call at the port seven days a week.” It said staff and the union accepted the need for such flexibility, and that shift patterns may require to change in the future, when this element of their employment contracts was agreed in 2011.

 As a consequence of the proposed strike, the port’s quayside container operations were closed from midnight on 14 March. All other operations at the port remained open.

“We sincerely hope that our staff, and their union, will cancel this strike and work with us to implement the changes necessary to enable the Port of Grangemouth to meet the changing demands of our customers.”

The company last year invested in increased capacity for handling refrigerated containers at the port.

It said this will maintain the Port of Grangemouth’s position as the largest reefer facility in Scotland.

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