It seems extraordinary that, while the future of one of Scotland's most important industrial sites is in doubt, the attention of both management and staff is elsewhere.
Workers at the Ineos petrochemical plant in Grangemouth are to mount a two-day stoppage in support of a colleague who is a convener in the Unite union.
Facing an internal investigation, Stephen Deans was suspended then reinstated over allegations surrounding work he may or may not have carried out on behalf of the Labour Party.
Mr Deans has now been investigated by the police and by Labour, and has been apparently exonerated by both.
Yet the firm insists it will allow the internal investigation to run its course, a procedure that will conclude on October 25.
The union's 48-hour stoppage is due to commence on October 20 and comes on top of a work-to-rule and overtime ban, causing huge disruption at a critical time for the plant.
The company says that without investment and a new source of raw materials the plant will close by 2017.
It argues that the plant previously valued on paper at around £400 million is now effectively worthless.
Jobs must go and Ineos is seeking £125m in loan guarantees from the Treasury while asking the Scottish Government to come up with £9m in regional selective assistance to help it bring in new shale gas supplies from the United States. Meanwhile the company wants to cut access to the employee pension scheme to enable it to compete with rival firms in Europe.
There is plainly a degree of brinksmanship going on. Whether the company is also attempting to break worker organisation ahead of the difficult negotiations to come - as the union alleges - is not clear.
It appears that the firm has relatively high fuel stocks and the two-day stoppage may not deliver sufficient disruption to fuel supplies to affect motorists or cause queues on forecourts.
However it is unacceptable that such a vitally important part of Scotland's industrial infrastructure is headed for such an apparently unnecessary conflict, when its long-term future is the far more relevant focus.
First Minister Alex Salmond and Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney have both called for the company to resolve the crisis and address the bigger picture.
Ineos appears to feel unable to back down in the face of union pressure. Unite is plainly seeking to establish its strength ahead of battles to come.
But the employer risks looking intransigent by refusing requests to work with the conciliation body ACAS.
This site is too important to Scotland for its future to be embroiled in posturing. There is still time to avert next week's strike action and both sides should return to the table.
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