Original Source: Source link
AROUND 100 staff at a Fife chemical plant will return to work at the site after staging a walkout.
ExxonMobil’s Mossmorran plant, which is restarting after closing last August, sparked alarm with “intense flaring” last Thursday that could be seen for miles.
Many residents took to social media to complain about the flares, which prompted questions over the safety of the plant near Cowdenbeath.
GMB Scotland previously said workers, understood to be mainly Bilfinger contractors, walked out of Mossmorran on Wednesday with concerns about the conditions.
A meeting was held among representatives on Thursday with the subsequent agreement staff would return to work the next day.
READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon acknowledges Mossmorran chemical plant flaring concerns
The union’s organiser Gary Cook said: “Staff will now return to work as normal following discussions with the Mossmorran sub-contractor representatives.
“The concerns raised surrounding working conditions and safety on site will be addressed fully under the terms of the ‘blue book’ industry agreement.
“Staff will suffer no detriment for the action taken over the last 48 hours and we look forward to working positively with Exxon and the sub-contractor employers moving forward.”
Bilfinger UK previously claimed its staff joined the dispute of “workers employed by a separate contractor”.
A spokesman for the company said their issue was over the pay of their workers who took part in Monday’s demonstration – and only for that period of “unofficial industrial action”.
READ MORE: ExxonMobil apologises for Fife chemical plant’s ‘intense flaring’
He said on Thursday: “We are pleased to have reached a successful conclusion to our discussions with our employees and their union representatives to resolve the dispute. Operations have recommenced.”
Bob Macgregor, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The situation at Mossmorran spontaneously occurred between some contractors and their workers, resulting in work on site being suspended.
“Unite has been involved in meetings today with the contractors and the workforce in order to bring a resolution to the satisfaction of the workforce.
“We are pleased to say that the workers have received the assurances they need in order to return back to work.
“Measures will now be put in place to ensure there is more effective and robust communications on site including on matters relating to health and safety to make sure this situation doesn’t arise again.”
READ MORE: Scots cakes company puts climate at heart of wedding days
It comes after Nicola Sturgeon was pressed on the issue at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday.
She said there was “no doubt about the very understandable concerns” of residents after flaring at the Fife plant last week.
ExxonMobil previously said the incident was part of work to restart operations at the ethylene plant, which closed last August for maintenance work.
In September 2019, the company announced a £140 million plan to reduce such occurrences and improve its infrastructure.
Earlier on Thursday, an ExxonMobil spokesman said: “The unofficial dispute is between the contracting company Bilfinger and its employees.
“ExxonMobil is not involved in the dispute. Bilfinger has made a statement to the media confirming that the dispute is about pay and contractual matters and has nothing to do with operational safety.
“We hope that Bilfinger and its employees can find a swift and amicable resolution. Our operations are unaffected.”