UK Grangemouth refinery strike talks to resume at 1200 GMT
(Adds context, Ineos comment)
LONDON Oct 15 (Reuters) - Talks to avert a strike at the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland, and head off potential disruption to crude flows from the North Sea, are set to resume at 1200 GMT on Tuesday, with management and unions as far from agreement as ever.
Concerns are growing that a walkout at the 210,000 barrel per day refinery will lead to a repeat of a similar strike in 2008 that interrupted flows of crude through the Forties Pipeline System (FPS) and shut in production at 70 North Sea fields, pushing up Brent crude oil futures.
The plant is already being shut down ahead of the Oct 20. start to the strike, called in support of a Unite union representative Stephen Deans in a dispute with owner Ineos .
Ineos at the weekend said it was willing to go to talks at the conciliation service ACAS, after previously saying it would be premature to do so.
Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary, said Ineos had cut short a mediation session on Monday evening, while the union had been ready to continue discussions.
"We are very disappointed matters could not be progressed through the evening particularly as we presented a number of proposals in a bid to resolve this dispute and we were prepared to work throughout the night if need be."
Ineos responded that the union had refused to engage in discussions about protecting North Sea oil flows and fuels for Scotland.
The union denies this and said that it has repeatedly offered to keep the whole plant on a "hot standby" setting. The plant is being closed now, ahead of the weekend strike deadline because closing the plant safely takes a number of days.
Ineos also said that it was inappropriate for Deans, the subject of the dispute, to be on the union's negotiating team.
"We came to ACAS in good faith and remain determined to resolve the issues facing us if at all possible," Calum MacLean Grangemouth Petrochemicals UK chairman said.
(Reporting by Simon Falush; editing by Keiron Henderson)
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