Workers in refinery closure protest

Workers who face being made redundant when an oil refinery closes later this year have staged a protest.

Coryton oil refinery in Essex, which supplies 20% of fuel in London and the South East, will be shut over the next two months and the site will be converted into an import terminal after administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) struck a deal to sell most of the assets.

A consortium comprising oil giant Shell, Royal Vopak and Greenergy is to buy the site for alternative use after PwC abandoned hopes of finding a buyer for Coryton as a going concern after a five-month search.

But unions believe the Government can still intervene to "knock heads together" to ensure the refinery is kept open as it is.

A spokesman for Unite said around 75 to 100 workers and their families took part in a demonstration at the Vopak oil terminal in Purfleet on Saturday, which is due to last into Sunday evening.

He said protesters were calling for a public inquiry into the matter, which will see around 850 jobs lost.

He said: "The workforce and local community itself feel let down by the Government and feel like they've been led down the garden path by the administrators, having been told they would try and find a buyer.

"The closure of the refinery will have a huge impact - in the region of £250 million on the regional economy - and only yesterday a taskforce to deal with the economic fallout was turned down."