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Anger as 300 Coryton workers are denied chance to apply for 72 new jobs
3:30pm Thursday 20th September 2012 in News
NEARLY 300 staff who lost their jobs following the collapse of Coryton oil refinery have been denied the opportunity of applying for 72 new jobs at the decommissioned plant.
PricewaterhouseCooper, the administrators who oversaw the sale of Coryton, have set up a company called Coryton Holdings Ltd to manage the site while a deal for the plant is finalised.
But workers made redundant in June and July, almost immediately after it was announced the refinery would be closing, believe they have been denied the opportunity to apply for the roles created by Coryton Holdings.
The jobs, which offer a two-year contract with the possibility of staying on under the new Vopak-led consortium, were only offered to workers made redundant in the last few weeks.
Russell Jackson, 55, from Lampitts Hill, Corringham, who has struggled to find employment since being made redundant in June said he feels “angry” and “aggrieved” that he was not offered a chance to apply for the new roles at the Coryton site.
He said: “These jobs never came to light until after the first wave of redundancies. Those who offered to take redundancy early on, weren’t given the opportunity of those jobs.
“A job like that would have been perfect for me because I could have done that for two years and then looked at taking my pension. Instead, i’m having to retrain.”
Russell, a dad of three, had worked at Coryton for 30 years and expressed concern several months ago that the specific nature of refinery work would make getting a new job very difficult, particularly as commitments to his family make moving away a very difficult prospect.
“PwC knew these jobs would be available when they agreed the deal. It’s just another example of the administrators poor practise.
“Morally it stinks, everyone should have been given the opportunity to apply.”
More than 850 workers lost their jobs after Coryton was forced to close when a buyer could not be found. The last day for Petroplus staff at the stricken refinery was on Friday.
A deal to convert the refinery into a terminal was agreed at the end of June, with redundancies hitting the work force in stages since then.
PWC, the administrators, who brokered a deal to convert the plant into a terminal say that those best suited to the remaining roles have been kept on.
In a statement, the firm said: “The Coryton redundancy process has been based on selecting those best qualified for the jobs which remain within the organisation.
“The administrators have worked with management and through consultation with the workforce, to deliver an organisation that is safe and efficient.
“Whilst we are sympathetic with those employees who left in earlier redundancy rounds, we are confident that we have appointed the best possible people to secure, monitor and maintain the site.”
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