HUNDREDS of angry and defiant workers gathered at the Grangemouth oil refinery yesterday as they prepared to go on strike.
Around 1,000 workers streamed into the refinery for a meeting with officials from union Unite.
Union officials said the workforce was determined to protect the pension scheme at the centre of the dispute.
The two-day walkout by up to 1,200 workers at the refinery in Scotland, which starts tomorrow, is a protest at plans to close a final salary pension scheme to new workers. Fears have been mounting that the strike will hit fuel supplies as a pipeline which delivers 30% of the UK’s daily oil output is closed.
The mass meeting was closed to the media.
The workers came out of the meeting at about 4.30pm. They streamed past, wearing orange boilersuits, and most refused to stop and comment. But the few that did said the gathering had only served to harden their resolve in the fight to save the pension scheme. Stuart Williamson said: “I think we are just more determined now, to be honest.”
Another man, who did not wish to be named, said: “We’ve been there a lot of years and it shouldn’t be the way it is now, with one guy dictating to us.” He was referring to Jim Ratcliffe, the owner of the plant.
A lot of anger seemed directed at Mr Ratcliffe himself. Before the meeting, Unite joint leader Tony Woodley said he was a “multi-millionaire, single person owner who is hell-bent on wanting a dispute here”.