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‘Riding roughshod’

Heavy-handed management sparks strike action threat at oil refinery
Shaun Noble, Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

A new heavy-handed management style at the Stanlow oil refinery could lead to industrial action that would threaten output at the Cheshire site, Unite warned today (June 6).


Unite said the recent appointment of a senior executive had led to ‘a gigantic deterioration’ in industrial relations and prompted the union’s 530 members to vote unanimously earlier this week to hold a consultative ballot to authorise a full-scale industrial action ballot.


The union warned that should there be industrial action this could hit jet fuel supplies to Liverpool and Manchester airports during the peak holiday season, as the Ellesmere Port site produces an estimated 16 per cent of the UK’s transport fuels.

“Previously excellent industrial relations have been seriously eroded with the recent appointment of a senior executive who, we say, has ridden roughshod over an agreement we signed just in March,”
said Unite regional officer Patrick Coyne.


“He has also refused to meet our convenors to discusses legitimate employment issues and such has been the hostility displayed that our members have voted to hold a consultative ballot to see if they wish to proceed to an industrial action ballot that could include strike action.


“If there were industrial action, Liverpool and Manchester airports could be hit, among other customers, as Stanlow is a major producer of the country’s transport fuels.”


Stanlow is owned by Essar Oil (UK) Ltd and Unite has written to the company’s CEO Srinivasalu Thangapandian saying that industrial relations are ‘deteriorating at a gigantic pace’.


Patrick Coyne added, “Unite, as a modern and progressive union, wants to work in partnership with Essar to see Stanlow continues as the very profitable enterprise it already is, and to ensure it has a long term and secure future.


“We hope Essar now realises it is taking the wrong path with this heavy-handed approach and can return to the type of partnership with Unite that has seen Stanlow become one of the top refineries in the UK and Europe.”


Unite members include process operators, maintenance technicians, production team leaders and maintenance planners. No timescale for the consultative ballot has been announced, but the result is expected before the end of June.


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