In all of the euphoria surrounding the settlement of the Grangemouth dispute, it is to be hoped that the abysmally poor industrial relations which have dogged the site in recent years are going to be a thing of the past. They are in no-one’s interest.
Investment in Scotland, indeed in all of northern Britain, has been blighted by the infamous “Red Clydesider” attitude which prevailed for the greater part of the last century; an attitude where employers and capitalists were portrayed as being the enemies of the workers and were to be fought and thwarted at every turn.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of those beliefs were in days of yore has little relevance in the modern, global economy in which Scotland and Britain are struggling to catch up today.
It is to be hoped that the common sense and mutual respect which have been learned the hard way in what is left of our industrial heartland in the past few days won’t be readily forgotten, and indeed that they will be built upon.
While it is tremendous news for the workers that Ineos has reversed its decision to close the plant, lessons need to be learned.
The Unite union should be ashamed of itself for nearly allowing the destruction of 800 jobs and many more with its Jurassic-like negotiation tactics.
Its bluff was called and consequently it had to roll over and take the medicine that huge numbers of people in the private sector have had to take already.
The ridiculous comments from United general secretary Ken McCluskey, that “we will never allow the closure of this facility”, and First Minister Alex Salmond doing the same were laughable as the decision to keep open or to close the facility rested entirely on one individual.
It is this point that the First Minister must take on board as closure would have had a disastrous effect on the Scottish economy and he would have been able to do absolutely nothing.
I am confident that he also realises that closure would have had serious consequences for his ambition of independence.
A contingency plan must be explored immediately to protect the Scottish economy for possible events like this in the future and the workers at Grangemouth should resign their membership of Unite with immediate effect.
News that the Unite union hurriedly engaged reverse gear and was ready to “embrace” the survival package offered by Ineos sent me to the dictionary. Embrace: “to clasp each other as in affection, hug”.
Now 24 hours earlier I would have suggested that hugging was not quite on the agenda. Just goes to show what a difference a day makes.