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Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 19:43 GMT
BP plant to shed 1,000 jobs
The company has been reviewing operations
BP Amoco has announced that up to 1,000 jobs will be lost at its Grangemouth plant.

Confirmation of the cuts follows a 10-week cost-cutting review at the refinery and petrochemical complex.

A spokesman for the company said the lay-offs - which are being blamed on the depressed chemicals market and "a series of operational problems" - would be phased over the next two years.

They will form part of a reorganisation of the site, where 2,500 people are currently employed.

This is a close-knit community and BP's action will have a devastating effect on the local economy

Pat Devine, AEEU regional officer
The director of the complex, Colin Maclean, said the company had "no choice" but to take the action.

"This is a very difficult time for everyone working at Grangemouth and we are committed to handling it as openly and sensitively as possible," he said.

"However, we have no choice but to move ahead with this transformation if we are to ensure that Grangemouth remains safe, modern and equipped to prosper in an increasingly competitive global market place so that we can safeguard its long-term future."

BP said the restructuring was "fully consistent" with recommendations made by a taskforce which carried out a major safety review following a series of incidents last year.

Refinery closure
There were a number of incidents at the plant last year
The company is investing more than 80m a year to improve safety and reliability at the plant.

But Pat Devine, regional officer of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU), said: "We have a real fear that staff cuts of this level could endanger safety.

"We will be pushing hard for the company to reduce the level of redundancies and ensure the jobs that do go are on a voluntary basis."

And he added: "This is a close-knit community and BP's action will have a devastating effect on the local economy."

The scale of the job losses will be a major blow to the Forth Valley, where the oil giant is the area's most important employer.

Single organisation

In addition to the staff on site, it is thought that BP's operations support a further 10,000 jobs.

BP said the move was "part of a series of initiatives and investments to radically improve the plant's ability to compete in an increasingly difficult international refining and chemicals environment".

Grangemouth's three main businesses - refining, petrochemicals and the Forties pipeline terminal - will be streamlined into a single organisation.

The company said this was "designed to simplify site operations while increasing liability and efficiency".

We have been given a bit of scope to reduce the numbers of people who will lose their jobs but 1,000 is still a huge group of people

Andy Kilpatrick, TGWU convener
BP will shut down an older polyethylene production unit, Rigidex 2, within the chemicals plant.

The oldest and smallest of its three crude distillation units, CDU 1, will close in the refinery.

The company also said it would make "every effort to relocate people with the appropriate skills to other BP locations, or to provide retraining, jobs search assistance and severance packages".

The Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU) craft convener at the site, Andy Kilpatrick, said: "We are all shocked and devastated by this news.

"There have been rumours going around for quite a while, and while there are no details of the individuals who will be affected by this, the numbers involved are far too high."

The 47-year-old, from Falkirk, added: "We have been given a bit of scope to reduce the numbers of people who will lose their jobs but 1,000 is still a huge group of people."

The BBC's John Morrison
"This is a real blow for this area"
BBC Scotland's Alan Mackay
"Everyone at Grangemouth knew it was going to be a day of bad news"
BBC Scotland's Hayley Millar
"More than five million barrels have gone through BP Grangemouth"
See also:

11 Nov 01 | Scotland
Job fears at BP refinery
04 Dec 00 | Scotland
Safety cash for BP refinery
30 Jun 00 | Scotland
Asbestos errors reviewed
12 Jun 00 | Scotland
BP launches refinery review
10 Jun 00 | Scotland
Fire prompts fresh safety calls
10 Jun 00 | Scotland
Second emergency at BP plant
09 Jun 00 | Scotland
Refinery blast cause revealed
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