Essex: Ministers accused of ‘snubbing’ Coryton refinery workers

THE Government has been accused of “snubbing” hundreds of workers set to lose their jobs at an oil refinery amid calls for a public inquiry into the site’s closure.

Workers from the Coryton refinery in Essex will stage a demonstration at the terminal tomorrow, as criticism mounted of the Government’s role in the collapse of the company.

Unite said ministers had a number of questions to answer, including why potential buyers were “overlooked” and why state aid was not granted to keep Coryton open.

The site will be converted into an import terminal for fuel, with the loss of more than 800 jobs.

The union criticised ministers for not setting up a regional taskforce to deal with the economic fall-out of the closure.

Unite national officer Linda McCulloch said: “This is a snub to the workforce, which faces the dole, by a short-sighted Government that cares little or nothing for a joined-up industrial strategy.

“However, the fight continues. This has just strengthened our resolve in calling for a public inquiry into the reasons leading up to the refinery being sold to a consortium and converted into an import terminal for fuel employing a much-diminished workforce.

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“It is clear that the Government could have provided a short-term state aid to keep the refinery going until a viable buyer was found, as the French government did in similar circumstances.

“The workers and the public have a right to know about the machinations behind the scenes that led up to the present dismal situation.”