Petroplus: Workers fear worst as shares suspended

FOLLOWING today’s suspension of shares in the Swiss parent company Petroplus responsible for Britain’s Coryton oil refinery, the Member of the European Parliament responsible for its Essex base who has spearheaded European attempts to prevent up to a 1,000 job losses at the refinery says workers are left fearing for the worst.

Labour’s Richard Howitt MEP held immediate consultations with local management and workers at the refinery who confirmed to him that Petroplus’ creditors had also imposed a condition preventing Coryton from continuing with deliveries of oil, also from today.

Labour’s Richard Howitt MEP who coordinates the group of Euro MPs campaigning for the company’s future across four European countries said:

“The suspension of shares comes as a complete surprise and, following on from the company’s talks both with banks and possible alternative business partners which have been held in almost complete secrecy, have left all of us campaigning for Coryton’s future fearing for the worst.

“With Coryton unable to let delivery lorries leave its premises, it is clear this is now ‘make or break’ both for the refinery and for its parent company.

“The restructuring that has already taken place at Coryton means that the refinery is a competitive business for the future, so everything must be done to avoid it being pulled down with the rest of the group.

“The response from both the British Government has been woefully inadequate given the threat to 1,000 jobs and to supplies of petrol to forecourts throughout the south east of England. ”

Richard Howitt MEP previously led a lobby of Euro MPs from Britain, France, Belgium and Germany to ask European Commissioner Laszlo Andor to intervene in the crisis, and who has agreed to raise the issue during a visit to the site of Petroplus’ German refinery this week.

The MEPs have been offered a further meeting this week with European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger.

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