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Grangemouth closure threatens 1400 Scottish jobs

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1400 jobs look set to be lost in Scotland as the owners of the Grangemouth petrochemical plant announced its closure and the possible closure of the adjoining refinery.

The Swiss owner Ineos shut down the production of 210,000-barrels a day at the refinery, which provides most of Scotland's fuel and it’s the largest industrial site. Grangemouth is one of only seven refineries left in Britain and accounts for about 8% of Scotland's manufacturing industry, according to David Bell, a professor of economics at Stirling University. The news comes after a protracted dispute with the Unite union

Ineos said liquidators would be appointed within a week for the petrochemical plant and that any restart of the refinery would depend on the union backing down and cancelling any proposed industrial action

"This is the outcome that matches our worst fears," Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond said.

"The Scottish government strongly believes the site has a positive future and we will continue to work with the UK government and all other parties concerned to find a solution that supports the workers affected and the wider Scottish economy."

Frances O'Grady, the TUC's general secretary spoke out against the Swiss company "This is a savage blow to the Grangemouth workforce and the wider Scottish economy. This is irresponsible capitalism at its worst,"

"The government always has contingency plans when workers go on strike. Now ministers need to show they are as well prepared when owners go on permanent strike."

Ineos had prepared to shut down Grangemouth ahead of a planned strike over the treatment of Unite representative Stephen Deans, who the union said had been unfairly treated by the company. Despite the strike being called off, Ineos went ahead anyway, playing hardball and stating that until any question of future industrial action was guaranteed not to happen, they would keep the plant closed.

With the vote on Scottish independence looming, both the SNP and the British government are scrambling for solutions and are both looking to come out of the crisis as the protectors of Scottish jobs and the Scottish economy.

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