Ineos Group is considering closing its Grangemouth, Scotland, facility in what has been described by union representatives as a "shocking" attempt to browbeat the workforce ahead of pension talks.
Company chairman Jim Ratcliffe described the plant as "expensive," citing "old-fashioned pensions" as a being a prime cause for concern. He was quoted as saying: "To have a future, it needs cheap feedstocks and a sensible cost structure. If we can't resolve those issues it would need to shut down."
Pat Rafferty, Scottish secretary of labor union Unite, said: "We are disappointed in this blatant attempt by Jim Ratcliffe to position the workforce ahead of scheduled talks on pensions and future site investments."
Unite represents around 1,200 workers at the Grangemouth facility. The union threatened strike action earlier this year over the suspension of a member of staff accused of having been involved in Falkirk candidate-selection political scandal.
The Grangemouth plant is Ineos' largest petrochemical complex. The facility includes two ethylene crackers.
Lyndhurst, England-based Ineos bought the Grangemouth site from BP plc's Innovene subsidiary in 2005 for £5.7 billion.