OIL GIANT TO SLASH HUNDREDS OF JOBS

HeadLine: OIL GIANT TO SLASH HUNDREDS OF JOBS

The Mirror, 10/11/2001, p2
by SHAUN MILNE

HUNDREDS of workers face the axe at BP’s petrochemical plant in
Grangemouth.
Crisis talks are being held this weekend between unions and senior
management to work out the exact details but up to half the 2,500
workers face the chop.
Local politicians are to be briefed and staff will learn their future
within the following 48 hours.
The scale of the cutbacks is a devastating blow to Forth Valley, where
BP is seen as the most important employer.
It is thought another 10,000 jobs are dependent on servicing the
complex and its workers.
Falkirk East MP Michael Connarty – Secretary of the House of Commons
all-party group on Oil and Gas – is to be briefed in Westminster.
And Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie will meet Colin Maclean, the
trouble-shooter appointed to run the plant in April.
Yesterday, she said: “At least there will be an end to the speculation.
We know it is going to be bad news.
“Mr Maclean has said BP are determined to stay in the area but they
must stay competitive and that means job losses.”
Mrs Peattie said that, after her briefing by BP on Monday afternoon,
the staff would be told of the scale of the cuts.
She said: “They will have to be informed and a public announcement can
be expected shortly after.
“This will have a very serious effect both on workers’ lives and the
wider economic community.”
BP is understood to be looking for a buyer for the plant but, with a
massive economic downturn following the September 11 terror attacks in
the US, there have been no takers.
Last year, BP suffered a series of major incidents at the complex.
Mrs Peattie said: “One of my major concerns has been about the health
and safety aspects. People want to know that this complex will be run
safely.”
A spokesman for Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley said they were “aware
of BP bosses’ views and had already taken them into account”.
He said: “While petrochemicals remain a key part of the local economy,
the Falkirk area has made significant progress in recent years in
broadening its economic base.”
BP has been highly successful in diversifying beyond the UK, with 80
per cent of its profits coming from overseas.
In February, it reported record annual profits of $14.2billion, more
than double the previous year’s $6.2bn and the third largest corporate
profits in world history.
The figure is the largest ever profit by a British company.
BP Grangemouth is unique within the BP Group as the only plant which
has all three of BP’s major businesses – exploration, oil and chemicals
– on one site and integrated into a single operation covering 700
hectares.
In a further jobs blow for Scotland, more than 60 staff have been axed
by the administrators called in to rescue phone firm Atlantic Telecom.
More than 300 staff from a total of 432 have now lost their jobs since
Atlantic, which had been losing £300,000 a day, went bust last
month.

**



Categories: Daily Mirror articles

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