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Taskforce meets in bid to help refinery staff
7:00am Saturday 9th June 2012 in News
A TASKFORCE aimed at supporting the hundreds of people affected by the closure of Coryton refinery met for the first time on Friday.
Up to 850 people could lose their jobs following the announcement last week that the refinery is to close after administrators failed to find a buyer.
While negotiations are ongoing to seal a deal for the plant, which was left cashless after its parent company Petroplus went bust in January, joint administrator Steven Pearson holds out little hope an agreement will be reached.
The Task Force, chaired by Thurrock Council leader John Kent was supported by a number of key Government agencies and stakeholders, including East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe.
Essex County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, Kevin Bentley, and Petroplus’ John Barden are also part of the group, which includes representatives from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
Cllr Kent said: “I am very pleased the Task Force was able to meet quickly and everyone there pledged their support to Petroplus and the workers affected by this week’s announcement.
“The council has worked closely with Petroplus, the Government and other agencies in recent months to try and secure Petroplus’ future in Thurrock, however Monday’s announcement unfortunately moves us on to plan for likely closure.
“The Task Force has requested an economic assessment is undertaken building on the work that has been done by the council and its partners over the last few months.
“It will help ensure the support and investment required during the closure programme is properly targeted to support employees and help manage the impact on the borough and the wider region.”
* THE Job Centre Plus Rapid Response service is also on hand to help employees affected by last week’s announcement.
The service gives those facing redundancy access to the services of Jobcentre Plus before they lose their jobs.
Support includes advice on which benefits can be claimed and skills training, assessments of transferable skills and access to an Action Fund, designed to help workers with interview costs or pay for equipment.
A DWP spokesperson said: “As soon as redundancies are announced, Jobcentre Plus offers tailored support to employers.
“Employees can get specialist advice and a range of support to help them back into work.”
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