Socialist Worker

Protesting workers vow to fight Coryton plant closure

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2308

Over 100 oil refinery workers marched in London on Wednesday of last week in protest at plans to throw them out of work.

Workers in the Unite union at the Coryton oil refinery near Basildon, Essex, were promised a secure future after the business ran into difficulties.

But administrators Price Waterhouse Coopers now say the plant will close with almost all the jobs going. The first round of 180 job cuts was announced this week.

“The whole community will be devastated if Coryton closes,” said Tony, who works in the refinery control room.

“Already people are talking about selling their houses and leaving. We’re being left with nothing. The administrators have kept us in the dark every step of the way.”

Coryton protesters targeted the oil giant’s headquarters as well as the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Leveson inquiry.

Price Waterhouse Coopers plans to sell the refinery to Shell. Shell will convert it into a terminal for importing oil with a much smaller workforce.

Some have tried to make the issue of Coryton into a fight between “British jobs” and “foreign companies”. Members of the fascist BNP even turned up to the workers’ public meeting on Monday.

Workers overwhelmingly voted to kick them out. Still their presence should come as a warning.

Workers from the Visteon occupation of 2009 and the electricians’ dispute of last winter were well received. They talked about the possibility of direct action.

Coryton workers are determined to fight for their jobs—but time is running out.

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