Another jobs blow for Grangemouth as Versalis announces closure

Workers at a Grangemouth plant have been dealt a festive season blow with the news that bosses intend to shut the site.

Three weeks ago, the Falkirk Herald revealed that jobs were under threat at Versalis UK plant in Bo’ness Road as management began consulting with unions.

However, yesterday (Thursday) staff were told that the plant will close.

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GMB Scotland said the closure will affect hundreds of workers and their communities.

Versalis is located on a site near Ineos in Bo'ness Road, Grangemouth. Pic: ContributedVersalis is located on a site near Ineos in Bo'ness Road, Grangemouth. Pic: Contributed
Versalis is located on a site near Ineos in Bo'ness Road, Grangemouth. Pic: Contributed

The union, which represents workers at the plastics plant, said 135 jobs would be at direct risk along with many more agency and contract staff.

Talks around the future of the site, owned by a multinational energy company, had been ongoing for several months but GMB was told of the closure at a meeting this morning before staff were informed.

Dom Pritchard, GMB Scotland organiser, said discussions were underway with the company to ensure the closure of the plant is properly managed and that workers secure the best possible redundancy terms.

The first job losses are expected in April.

He said: “We have been in talks with management for some time and, while closure was an option, this news is a body blow for many of our members, their families and the communities where they live.

“The impact of this decision will not only be felt by workers inside the plant but among suppliers and support staff.

“We will be continuing our discussions with the company and working tirelessly to ensure those workers losing their jobs receive the best terms possible.”

Versalis UK is part of the Italian energy company Eni’s chemical division, which has branches all over the world, making plastics, rubbers and developing technologies for polymer recycling.

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The news comes only weeks after Petroineos announced plans to close its refinery in Grangemouth with the potential loss of around 400 jobs.

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of the situation at Versalis and are naturally concerned regarding any loss of employment to a local company and their supplier networks.

“We will be contacting the management of the company to offer support and advice for the workforce as well as potential discussion to see if there are any areas that we may be able to assist with.”

A statement issued today by the company said: “Versalis UK, as part of the collective consultation process, informed employee representatives and trade unions (GMB union, Unite union) that, due to worsening conditions of the elastomers market, declining sales, increasing costs and negative outlook, the company has arrived at the final decision to close the Grangemouth plant.

“This decision follows a thorough and open analysis of the different alternatives and proposals discussed during the ongoing consultation process.

“The cease of the production and consequent closure of the plant is estimated to commence in April 2024 with redundancies occurring on a phased basis. The process will be managed in full compliance with legal requirements.”

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