Church leader welcomes Grangemouth agreement

Workers outside the INEOS Grangemouth oil refinery.(PA)

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has welcomed a deal to keep the Grangemouth petrochemical plant open.

Some 800 jobs were set to go when Ineos announced on Wednesday that the plant would close but a deal was struck after the union agreed to a number of conditions, including a three-year freeze on workers' pay and strikes until a new £300m gas terminal is built.

Ineos also agreed to re-hire the 2,000 contractors laid off when the complex was shut.

Kirk Moderator the Right Reverend Hood, said: "I am sure everyone in the Grangemouth area will be relieved that the petrochemical plant is to stay open.

"Finding a just resolution in a conflict is never easy and always involves compromise, so we are grateful that an agreement has finally been reached.

"It is now hoped that contract workers will be reinstated. Unemployment in Scotland remains a scourge; behind every person who loses his or her job, there is a potential spiral into debt, loss of homes and undoubted pressure on family relationships."

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said a "potential disaster" had been averted.  

"I am delighted that people have rallied round to protect these jobs, and now we can all agree that Grangemouth has an outstanding future," he said.