One of the mysteries – to me at any rate – of the dispute between management and workers at Grangemouth petrochemical complex is that the company that owns it, INEOS, says it is losing £10 million a month there.
The workers are faced with signing up to significantly reduced terms and conditions or the prospect of redundancy.
But…… Losing £10 million a month running an oil complex? One, moreover, that is capable of supplying all the petrol stations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and much of the North of England?
What sort of mismanagement led to this situation? How can anyone in this day and age not make money from owning an oil refinery and its associated petrochemical works?
On Reporting Scotland tonight a glimmer of an answer appeared.
It seems INEOS has been expanding rapidly. We were told – in passing – its owner Jim Ratcliffe has incurred debt in doing so even though otherwise he appears to be doing all right.
Reading between the lines it seems he wants to make the workers at Grangemouth pay for it.
The most disturbing thing about this whole rigmarole is that little mention has been made of this aspect up to now. Politicians and the media have been shying clear of criticism of the company’s conduct. Serious questions ought to be asked of the company and politicians – UK wide. I doubt the Scottish Government has much real clout in a situation like this. I’m not holding my breath for the UK coalition to do anything about it though.
Is Jim Ratcliffe a fit and proper person to be in charge of any commercial enterprise? Have the losses been built up deliberately to engineer a diminution of workers’ conditions and pay?
How on Earth was such a chancer allowed to get anywhere near control of Scotland’s largest industrial asset?
The whole thing stinks.