Solidarity needed: Release arrested protesters without charge
Today, 25 June, dozens of workers, their families and supporters protested against imminent job losses Coryton Oil Refinery.
The BBC reported yesterday that “about 180 jobs are being cut at Coryton Oil Refinery after its parent company, Swiss-based Petroplus, collapsed.”
It’s rumoured that some workers can look forward to hearing whether they lose their job by phonecall in the next few days.
Protesters appealed to tanker drivers to support the cause and got a largely friendly response. A long tailback up the road ensued.
The police agreed to allow a small protest at the gates. However, after a few minutes both the oil refinery and the police demanded that protesters moved on.
This was, however, in the middle of a speech by a representative of the miners in Asturias in Spain where miners are involved in a heroic struggle against austerity.
The workers voted to stay and hear the end of the speech and to show their solidarity with the miners’ struggle.
But the police showed no such respect and riot police viciously attacked the rally, pushing everyone there around violently.
Workers were shocked at this attack, including on family members. The arrest of three protesters followed, one of them an activist in the rank and file committee of the Sparks construction electricians.
The protest is ongoing at time of writing. We appeal for demands to be made that all those arrested are immediately released without charge and that these jobs and skills are not lost.
Please protest to the Essex Police complaints line: 01245 491491 or via their email.
Build support for the Coryton workers in your union branch.
For background info on the dispute see previous reports here.
Coryton is a major oil refinery on the Thames estuary inEssex. It refines about 20% of the region’s fuel, and is a major supplier of aviation fuel for the south of England.
The plant’s parent company went into receivership in January and has been in the hands of Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) ever since.
Just over a week ago it came out that PWC was intending to sell the refinery to a front operation for the Shell Oil company, whose plan is to dismantle the refinery and set up a terminal for the import and storage of refined fuel on the site. This would mean the end of about 1,000 employees’ and contractors’ jobs.