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Angry Coryton workers on the march for justice
WORKERS from Coryton demanded a public inquiry into the sale of the oil refinery.
About 50 workers and trade unionists protested outside a building belonging to one of its new owners.
They gathered outside the Vopak terminal, in Oliver Road, Purfleet, on Saturday.
The protest came as Unite, the union representing Coryton workers, accused the Government of snubbing their requests for a taskforce to cope with the loss of £250million to the local economy when the refinery’s closes.
Unite and Coryton workers want questions answered about the sale of the refinery, which they say was completed “in secrecy” by the administrators.
There was a police presence at Saturday’s demonstration, the third to take place outside Vopak in recent months, after the most recent protest led to three arrests.
A cordon was set up to ensure protesters could not obstruct lorries going in and out.
Linda McCulloch, a Unite national officer who was at the demonstration, said the union was pleased with the turnout, despite expecting greater numbers.
She said: “It wasn’t our intention to disrupt fuel supplies. We want to demonstrate quietly and appeal for a public inquiry.”
Jason Williams, a production controller at the now closed refinery, who is waiting to hear whether he will be made redundant at the end of this month, said: “I’m a little bit disappointed with the turnout today.
“I think people were worried because there was a little bit of trouble last time, but it’s good people are still behind us and up for the fight. We just want to know the truth.
“I’m still working at the moment. “It’s frustrating in a way because you’re left hanging. It’s hard to know how to progress your future.”
The Corringham oil refinery, which supplies 20 per cent of fuel in London and the South East, will be shut over the next two months.
The site will be converted into an import terminal after the administrators, Price-Waterhouse Coopers, struck a deal to sell most of the assets.
The buyers, a consortium comprising oil giant Shell, Royal Vopak and Greenergy, will turn the refinery into an import and storage terminal for fuel.
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