Grangemouth can reopen if workers accept pension cuts-Ineos
* Ineos proposes pension cuts
* Says cost cutting vital for plant's survival
* Workers have until Monday to respond
By Simon Falush
LONDON, Oct 17(Reuters) - Ineos said on Thursday that the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical plant it operates in Scotland can re-open next week if workers accept cuts in pensions benefits and changes to union representation.
Ineos said on Wednesday that it was closing the 210,000 barrel per day refinery, and that no move to re-open it would begin until they had a response from workers to proposed changes to terms and conditions.
The company said it would give workers until Monday to respond to the offer, and would decide on Tuesday what to do with the plant on the basis of that decision.
"The site is safely closed whilst we consult the workforce," Callum MacLean, Ineos Grangemouth chairman said.
The company has said that the loss-making plant's survival is dependent on putting it on a more secure financial footing, and that without big cost cuts, it will close by 2017.
The union disputes the company's analysis of the financial situation at the plant.
The Unite union on Wednesday called off a strike planned to start on Sunday over the treatment of a union organiser, saying that a shutdown of the plant would be damaging.
Ineos said it will give workers until Monday to respond to the new proposals, and make a decision on the plant's future on Tuesday.
The company said in a statement that the offer is to replace a pension scheme that offers a percentage of salary with one that relies on contributions from employees, in return for a cash payment.
It also said that the staff "would have a more modern approach to work place representation".
"We want to have new union agreements, one for each business area, which are refining, chemicals and infrastructure," a spokesman said.
It said it is putting the offer directly to workers because the union, with which it has been engaged in a lengthy dispute has refused to discuss the issues.
A Unite spokesman said that the union was not able to comment until it had received feedback from representatives who were at a meeting with the company.
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