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6 July 2012
The government should set up a regional task force to deal with the economic fall-out from the proposed closure of the Coryton oil refinery with the loss of 800 jobs.
Unite, the largest union in the country, has joined with Thurrock Council to call for ministers to form a beefed-up task force, backed up with government cash, to combat the expected £250 million loss to the south Essex economy.
The message for urgent government aid will be reinforced at a public meeting calling for a public inquiry into the reasons for Coryton closure in the Main Hall, the Pegasus Club, Herd Lane, Corringham SS17 9BJ at 7.00pm Wednesday, 11 July.
The Coryton refinery is set to be sold and converted into an import terminal for fuel, leading to the loss of over 800 jobs. Unite has repeatedly called for a short-term government bail-out to tide the plant over until a buyer can be found to safeguard the refinery and the employees' future.
In a letter to Mark Prisk, minister at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Unite's assistant general secretary, Tony Burke said that closure will have “a catastrophic effect on the local economy, dismantling a skilled workforce, not to mention the impact on other businesses and employment in the locality.”
Calling for Mr Prisk to head the regional task force, Tony Burke said: “We would make no secret of the fact that assistance to the local area needs to be backed up by significant additional government funds and that BIS recognises the need to give the highest priority.”
In a letter to the minister calling for the regional task force, Coun. John Kent, leader of Thurrock Council outlined “the significant economic challenges which the borough faces.”
Join the call for a public inquiry
When: 7.00pm Wednesday, 11 July. Where: Main Hall, The Pegasus Club, Herd Lane, Corringham SS17 9BJ
Chair: Linda McCulloch, Unite national officer. Speakers: Tony Burke, Unite assistant general secretary; Richard Howitt, Labour MEP; Polly Billington Labour Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Thurrock