SCOTTISH Labour leader Johann Lamont has accused the owners of the Grangemouth refinery of the “Dickensian” treatment of its workers after a Unite union convenor at the plant was sacked.
Unite said it will take legal action on behalf of Mark Lyon, who was said to have been dismissed for not stopping the union from commenting over fears of job losses at the plant.
Ms Lamont insisted there was “no place for recriminations” following the sacking, which came after the resignation of Unite’s other Grangemouth convenor, Stevie Deans, who was caught-up in a long-running row over his involvement in the selection of a Labour candidate in Falkirk.
The Labour leader said workers had already been forced to accept changes to their employment conditions at the plant, which had faced closure during a bitter dispute between Unite and site owner Ineos.
Unite said there was significant medical evidence that Mr Lyon was suffering from a serious stress-related illness as a result of the treatment he had “endured” at the hands of Grangemouth’s owners.
Ms Lamont suggested Ineos, which she said had received taxpayers’ cash as part of a rescue package for Grangemouth, should now reinstate Mr Lyon.
She said: “There can be no place for recriminations at Grangemouth. The workforce has accepted enormous changes to their pay and conditions to work with their employers at Ineos.
“They and their rights must be respected. The idea that they cannot choose their own trade union representatives is just plain wrong. And the idea that one trade unionist can be sacked because of what another trade unionist says is Dickensian.
“Ineos have received millions of pounds worth of public money from both the UK and Scottish governments.
“They cannot be allowed to ignore the most basic of their workers’ rights.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Labour MPs Katy Clark, Michael Connarty and Jim Sheridan have lodged a motion at Westminster backing Mr Lyons.
Ineos said that the latest dispute is a “confidential issue between the company and Mr Lyon”.