Christmas blow

Jobs to go in closure of Versalis plastics plant

Versalis plant (pic: google maps)

Workers at a plastics plant in Grangemouth have been told just before Christmas that the facilty is to close.

The Versalis site in Bo’ness Road employs 135 directly, together with a number of agency and contract staff.

Talks around the future of the site, owned by a multinational energy company, had been ongoing for several months but the GMB union was told of the closure at a meeting yesterday before staff were informed.

Dom Pritchard, GMB Scotland organiser, said discussions were underway with the company to ensure the closure of the plant is properly managed and that workers secure the best possible redundancy terms. The first job losses are expected in April.

He said: “We have been in talks with management for some time and, while closure was an option, this news is a body blow for many of our members, their families and the communities where they live.

“The impact of this decision will not only be felt by workers inside the plant but among suppliers and support staff.

“We will be continuing our discussions with the company and working tirelessly to ensure those workers losing their jobs receive the best terms possible.”

Versalis UK is part of the Italian energy company Eni’s chemical division, which makes plastics, rubbers and develops technologies for polymer recycling.

The news comes only weeks after Petroineos announced plans to close its refinery in Grangemouth with the potential loss of between 400 jobs.

Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay MSP said: “This will be devastating news for workers and their families, and all efforts must be taken to try and support them. I am asking for urgent updates from the site owners and unions as to what else might be done.

“Coming ten days before Christmas Eve the timing of this announcement is particularly cruel, plunging the immediate staff and all those who would be impacted by the decision into deep uncertainty ahead of the festive break. 

“We cannot have a situation where businesses opt to just up sticks and leave, abandoning the staff and the community that have supported them loyalty and skilfully over the years, without exhausting every possible alternative solution.

“I am calling for urgent talks with all stakeholders and workers to investigate if there can be any way to protect their futures.”

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