Tayside and Central Scotland

Unite in legal action against Ineos over Grangemouth emails

Grangemouth Image copyright PA
Image caption The Grangemouth refinery was the scene of a bitter dispute last year

The Unite union is taking legal action against the owner of the Grangemouth petrochemicals complex over allegations about the "leaking" of emails.

The union said Ineos had "questions to answer" over how emails appeared in newspapers last year during a dispute at the refinery.

It said it had begun High Court action over "continued refusal" to release information under data protection laws.

Ineos said it was confident it had done nothing wrong.

Unite has also reported reported Ineos to the Information Commissioner.

Unite's Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty, its legal director Howard Beckett and former convener Stevie Deans have lodged requests under the Data Protection Act with Ineos, public relations firm Media Zoo and public affairs agency Portcullis.

Mark Lyon, a former Unite convenor at Grangemouth, who was sacked by Ineos earlier this month, has also demanded that the company release data and information held on him.

'Every legal option'

Mr Beckett said: "Ineos, Media Zoo and Portcullis all have questions to answer about their actions and how confidential emails found their way into national newspapers.

"If these companies want to avoid suggestions of a cover up and appearing to have a complete disregard for the law, then they need to come clean.

"No company is above the law and they should be in no doubt that we will pursue every legal option to force them to comply with the law and hand over the information that we, as individuals, are legally entitled to."

A spokesman for Ineos said: "We understand from a Unite media release that the union has issued legal proceedings against this company.

"We have not yet received any documentation but we are very confident that the company has done nothing wrong and will be fully vindicated in any court action.

"Since the ending of the dispute at Grangemouth, Unite has continued to try and undermine the plant."

The spokesman said Ineos had dropped its own legal actions against the union "only to discover that Unite has chosen to issue new writs against the company."

Grangemouth was at the centre of a dispute last year, which led owners Ineos to threaten to close part of the site if workers did not agree to a rescue package to help secure its future.

Unite had been threatening strikes over the suspension of former union convener Stevie Deans, but the union decided to accept the company's proposals, and Mr Deans resigned from his job.

He was also chairman of the Falkirk Labour Party, which was embroiled in a dispute over claims that Unite had tried to influence the selection of a candidate.

An internal report was drawn up for the party, with Unite insisting it had done nothing wrong.

The row led to Labour leader Ed Miliband announcing reforms in the historic link between the party and unions - changes which were agreed by the party's national executive on Monday.

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