Grangemouth Refinery Strike

strike at the Grangemouth refinery is worth having a look at.

Anything touching on the oil and gas industry is important for Scotland, and that means important for the referendum. Since the refinery is the main source for most of Scotland’s fuel, it shows up how concentrated petrochemical production is in Scotland. The loss, even a temporary halt to fuel supplies could have serious knock on effects, either resulting in a rationing of supplies or in forcing Scotland to look at other, more expensive sources. Of course, the plant has halted production for a few days now, and society is still standing. I guess any prophecies of doom would be proven wrong.

The second issue is the state of the plant’s finances. If the article is correct, and the refinery will need to close down in 2017 without fresh investment, it doesn’t make Scotland’s oil and gas industry look too robust.

And of course, what can’t be lost sight of is the worker’s. Personnel are an important part of the oil and gas industry. If the pay packets available to Scottish oil sector workers shrink, it means less people will be interested in becoming qualified to work in the oil industry. And, if Scotland is an independent country, without any word on how immigration will work between the rest of the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth, it could be difficult for Scotland to import outside expertise.

The strike brings up some serious questions of the health of Scotland’s oil and gas industry, as well as a number of unanswered questions. As the Institute for Fiscal Studies report showed, oil and gas will play a big part in maintaining the Scottish economy and living standards post independence. Of course, whether this strike is a symptom of the current UK economy and could be more easily fixed under home rule, or is simply an inevitability in any dynamic and flexible economy and is bolstered by the UK as whole is hard to say. My gut tells me that this is one event in favour of the Union.

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