Deliver plan to protect jobs at Grangemouth, union tells Swinney

12 June 2024, 15:44

John Swinney making a speech with a Saltire flag backdrop
General Election campaign 2024. Picture: PA

The First Minister said the Scottish Government will seek to ‘secure a future for the site’.

Scotland’s First Minister has been urged to help come up with a plan to protect jobs put at risk by the closure of the Grangemouth refinery.

Bosses at the site said last year the refinery could begin the switch to an import terminal as early as 2025, sparking fears about jobs and the local community.

In an election campaign video with Alloa and Grangemouth SNP candidate John Nicolson, John Swinney said he “cannot allow things to happen that are going to damage Scotland”.

The First Minister added that he will work with unions to “secure a future for the site”, which he said is “absolutely fundamental” to the Scottish economy.

But the boss of Unite the union said: “If they cannot allow damage to Scotland, why on earth has it taken the Scottish Government eight months to even talk about a plan to secure the future of the Grangemouth oil refinery and the jobs of people who work there?

“Grangemouth is ‘absolutely fundamental’ to the Scottish economy. Unite’s message to politicians since November has been to work with us to develop a plan which can protect jobs, but we still have not seen one.

“The Scottish Government has failed to act and make no mistake, Unite will always hold politicians to account for their failures to protect workers.”

Unite Scottish secretary Derek Thomson said it is a “national scandal” that no “concrete proposal” has yet been brought forward.

In the video, the First Minister said: “The Grangemouth plant is so important to Scotland’s economy – it’s not just important to the Grangemouth economy or the Grangemouth community, it’s important to the Scottish economy, it’s absolutely fundamental.

“So as First Minister, I can’t allow things to happen that are going to be damaging to Scotland.

“We’ve got to work with the plant, with the unions, to find a way forward and to do that securely, so that people are supported through this process.”

He also claimed Scotland is still “picking up the pieces” of the “recklessness” of the actions of Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s, when ministers closed coal fields.

Addressing Mr Nicolson in the clip, Mr Swinney added: “What we will do is work with a plan to secure a future, and I assure you John, I assure the community of Grangemouth and the wider central Scotland economy, that the Scottish Government will do everything we possibly can do to bring people together and find a way forward.”

By Press Association