Unite has served notice of strike action to Ineos this afternoon (Friday October 11). It claims the company refused further efforts to resolve a dispute over the treatment of a trade union representative and the use of agency workers.

The union has given Ineos seven day’s notice of a 48-hour strike, starting Sunday October 20 at 7am and ending Tuesday October 22 at 7am.

In a statement released by Unite this afternoon, the union said it had received an overwhelming mandate for strike action from the workforce, with 81.4% voting for strikes on an 86% turnout. More than 90% of workers also voted for action short of strikes, with a continuous work-to-rule and overtime ban in place since Monday September 30.

The Unite statement read: "Over the last forty-eight hours Ineos has:

• Refused further requests to enter into mediation talks at ACAS;

• Rejected proposals for a comprehensive transition agreement for the future of the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical site; and

• Resisted an offer for an independent financial survey of the Grangemouth site - for which Unite offered to pay.

Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said: “Unite has made every effort to pull Ineos back from the brink but at every opportunity this company has kicked our proposals for peace into touch.

“We have pleaded with Government Ministers in Westminster and Holyrood and the joint owners of the Grangemouth refinery Petrochina to help reign in this reckless company before it’s too late.

“A damaging strike may shut-down the Grangemouth site, with serious ramifications for fuel production and supply throughout Scotland and the North of England, and the public should know the blame lies with Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe.

“The company can level whatever accusations it wants to at Unite and our members but the fact of the matter is we can only interpret their actions as a sign that they are determined to see strike action in an attempt to break the back of our union and run Grangemouth into the ground.”

“However, Unite will fight back against attacks on our union and any attempt to impose devastating cuts on our members’ jobs and hard-fought terms and conditions because that’s what strong trade unions do.

“We will not negotiate with a gun to our head but Ineos can end this dispute tomorrow if they step back from the brink and begin to work with their employees again instead of against them.

“The ball is in their court.”