Hundreds of workers at Grangemouth could be set for 'wildcat strike' 

Around 500 maintenance and repairs staff could walk out.

Hundreds of workers at Grangemouth could be set for ‘wildcat strike’  iStock

Hundreds of workers at Grangemouth oil refinery are threatening wildcat strike action in a dispute over pay.

Around 500 contracted maintenance and repairs staff could walk out next week in the face of the rising cost of living.

If the action goes ahead, maintenance at the refinery could be paused, with production of oil and gas across the country being impacted.

It is understood that if there is no resolution to the dispute, action will commence on Wednesday, August 10.

Strike action will then take place on every second Wednesday until there are further talks on a new pay deal.

Grangemouth is just one of six refineries in Britain and supplies two-thirds of the petrol and diesel for forecourts in Scotland.

Last year, workers at the refinery agreed to a pay rise of 5% over two years.

However, with inflation expected to rise to 11% by the next of 2022, they are now demanding to reopen the pay agreement to negotiate a higher offer.

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The Falkirk-based refinery is owned by Petroineos – formed in 2011 between state-owned Chinese oil giant PetroChina and Ineos, part of billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s petrochemical empire.

Across the UK, thousands of employees working under a national pay agreement are also preparing to take action at other sites.

It also comes after energy giant BP reported its biggest profit in 14 years, due to the soaring price of oil and gas.

The firm saw underlying profits hit $8.45bn (£6.9bn) between April and June,

Meanwhile, typical household energy bills are being forecast to hit more than £3,600 a year this winter.

Speaking to STV News, workers at the refinery explained that they now feel as though they have “no choice” but to take action.

“These companies are making record profits and we’re the ones that’s suffering. We’re are all struggling,” a worker at the site said.

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“All we are asking them to do is get back round the table and reopen discussions.”

One worker told STV News: “We helped these companies during the pandemic working long hours.

“We were classed as essential workers and even took a pay freeze. We’ve bent over backwards to do what we can.”

Another added: “This isn’t the path we wanted to go down but we feel like we have no choice now.”

Strike action was taken earlier this year by tanker drivers at Grangemouth.

A Scottish Government Spokesperson said that it would “not be appropriate to comment on procedural matters, such as pay negotiations, relating to a private company”, in regards to the planned action.

A spokesperson for Bilfinger UK, an engineering and maintenance provider, said: “We understand that Bilfinger UK is one of a group of contractors with employees planning unofficial action that is not supported by the trade unions.

“We are working closely with our clients, employees, trade associations and the trade unions to keep them updated of the position and hope that the proposed unofficial action can be avoided.”