Workers at the Coryton oil refinery and their families have gathered outside the Vopek terminal in Purfleet for a 24 hour demonstration against the sale of the Essex plant. They were joined by Unite the Union and members of the Fire Brigades Union.
It follows the sale of Coryton to a consortum including Vopak, Shell and Greenergy. The new owners plan to convert the site into an import terminal for fuel, which workers say will mean the loss of 850 jobs.
Demonstrators are now demanding a public inquiry into how the sale was agreed. They accuse the administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers, of refusing to give details about the sale, and say that other serious buyers who hoped to keep Coryton as a refinery were overlooked.
Unite national officer Linda McCulloch, said:
But PricewaterhouseCoopers insist the sale process for Coyrton was fair. In a statement they said:
The Unite union is also questioning the government's role in the refinery's closure, which it says will cost businesses and the local economy about £250 million.