Tomorrow we will be putting a proposal to the workforce and we are giving them the weekend to decide and expect a response on Monday,” an Ineos spokeswoman said. “We’ll review with stakeholders what the workforce says on Tuesday and whether it re-opens depends on their response,” she added. A company statement had earlier said Grangemouth was financially distressed and that the industrial action called by the Unite union had inflicted significant further damage. INFRASTRUCTURE The plant plays a key role in Scotland’s economy. “This is a hugely important matter…whether it continues as a major part of Scotland’s infrastructure. It’s a hugely important industrial complex,” Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister said in a BBC interview. Ineos said earlier this week it had begun winding down operations at Grangemouth, ahead of a planned strike by Unite union members over the treatment of a union representative. Unite called the strike off earlier on Wednesday. A source familiar with the situation said that it would take around three weeks to get the plant back to full operations, whenever a decision was made. Unite, in keeping with the bitter tone of the long-running dispute, accused Ineos of “economic vandalism”. “There is absolutely no reason for the site to remain shut – the company is holding Scotland to ransom,” said Unite regional secretary Pat Rafferty. The UK government said it had been working with the regional government to ensure minimal disruption to supply. “We have been working closely with the fuel industry and Scottish government to put robust alternative fuel supply routes in place,” Edward Davey, Energy Secretary said. Ineos, while readying the plant for shutdown, had been taking shipments of oil products, which it was distributing to customers, union sources said. FORTIES PIPELINE The refinery, owned jointly by Ineos and PetroChina, also supplies steam and power to BP’s Kinneil oil terminal, which processes North Sea crude that comes ashore via the Forties Pipeline System.
The two people had phoned in the same name based on the sketches, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said during the BBC’s “Crimewatch” program, which aired an appeal Monday night for information about a man police want to track down. The man was seen carrying a child matching McCann’s description on the night she vanished in 2007 around the resort town of Praia da Luz in Portugal. Police hope for new leads in McCann case New evidence in McCann case The man is described as white, between 20 and 40 years old, with short brown hair and a medium build. He was seen carrying a blond child, who might have been in pajamas and who was estimated to be 3 to 4 years old, around the time Madeleine disappeared, police had said. The sketches are based on descriptions from separate witnesses, investigators said. Since the program aired, British police said they have received more than 300 phoned tips and 170 e-mailed ones. “We will now take the time to follow up these lines of enquiry,” Redwood said. Police target 38 ‘people of interest’ in Madeleine McCann’s ’07 disappearance The latest revelation is critical in reconstructing what exactly happened more than six years ago on the night of May 3, 2007,when McCann disappeared from her family’s villa while her parents dined at a nearby restaurant. The girl was just days shy of her fourth birthday. Computer-generated sketch Computer-generated sketch Computer-generated sketch Neither her parents nor the detectives investigating her case have given up on one day finding the little girl from Leicestershire, England. “There may be an entirely innocent explanation of this man, but we need to establish who he is to assist with our inquiries,” Redwood said earlier. Additionally, investigators believe they have a better understanding of when Madeleine may have been abducted, Redwood added. “The timeline we have now established has given new significance to sightings and movements of people in and around Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.” John Walsh: Madeleine McCann could be alive Police announced in July that they have identified 38 “people of interest” in connection with the case. Twelve of them are UK nationals who police say they think were in Portugal at the time the girl went missing.
UK’s Argos undercuts Tesco with 99.99 pound tablet
Markets open in 6 hrs 2 mins UK’s Argos undercuts Tesco with 99.99 pound tablet Reuters Mon, Oct 14, 2013 7:04 PM EDT 46.45 +0.06 LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Argos has entered the intensely competitive tablet computer market with a 99.99 pound ($160) own-brand product that is 16 percent cheaper than one launched by Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, last month. Argos, owned by Home Retail, said on Tuesday its MyTablet would be targeted at teenagers, taking on a market dominated by Apple, Samsung and Amazon. Tesco sold 35,000 Hudls in two days following its September 30 launch – the fastest-selling tablet launch ever seen at the retailer. Argos is keen to tap into this growing segment as part of its reinvention from a catalogue-led to digitally-led business. Home Retail has posted five straight years of profit decline and hopes the change of direction for Argos will result in a 15 percent rise in sales to 4.5 billion pounds by 2018. Like Tesco’s Hudl, which is priced at 119 pounds, Argos’ MyTablet has a seven-inch screen, runs Google’s Android operating system, comes with pre-loaded apps and is enabled for internet browsing, TV, music, video streaming and social networking. However, MyTablet only has 8 gigabytes of standard memory compared to 16 on the Hudl. It also has a lower resolution screen, an inferior battery life and is only available in two colours versus the Hudl’s four. Both devices will compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which retails for 99 pounds, Google’s Nexus 7, which costs 199 pounds and Apple’s iPad mini, which sells for 269 pounds. “Millions of people have bought tablets during the last year but there is still around 75 percent of the UK population without one,” said Argos managing director John Walden. Market research company EMarketer estimates there are 19.7 million tablet users in the UK, up 39 percent year-on-year. Both Argos and Tesco sell a range of branded tablets. Sebastian James, CEO of Dixons Retail, Europe’s second biggest electricals retailer, said last month that although there is a market in Britain for cheap, basic tablets, consumers were often left disappointed by purchases. “We get a lot back because people use them and they say ‘no, what I wanted was an iPad’ and they are not,” he told Reuters.
Change to UK Collective Redundancy Consultation Regime Now Confirmed
Background When a UK employer proposes to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees, within a period of 90 days or less, it is required to collectively consult representatives of those affected, prior to implementing its proposal. Failure to do so can lead to the employer being required to pay up to 90 days pay to each affected employee (a Protective Award). This obligation arises out of the European Collective Redundancies Directive (the Directive). In implementing the Directive, the UK Government stipulated that the obligation would only be triggered if the proposed redundancies involved 20 or more employees who all worked at one establishment within the employers organization. UK employers have therefore relied on this for many years as a means of avoiding the obligation to collectively consult when redundancies are proposed across different locations or are otherwise proposed at different establishments. What Has Changed? The EAT has now held that the words at one establishment should be deleted from UK legislation. Why? Because the stated purpose of the Directive is to provide greater protection for workers facing a collective redundancy situation and, in the view of the EAT, without this deletion, UK legislation provides less protection than the Directive requires. What Does This Mean for UK Employers? Employers wishing to avoid liability for a Protective Award should now collectively consult when they are proposing to dismiss 20 or more employees as redundant, anywhere in their UK business, within a period of 90 days or less. Employers will no longer be able to slice and dice their UK business into different establishments in order lawfully to avoid the obligation to collectively consult about proposed redundancies. This marks a significant change to UK collective redundancy practice.