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Refinery saved

Unite is celebrating the safeguarding of hundreds of jobs, after an oil refinery in Wales was saved from closure following its sale, confirmed on July 31.
Hajera Blagg, Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

For over three years, Milford Haven oil refinery’s future hung in the balance as owner Murphy Oil struggled to find a buyer for the West Wales site.


Unite and its members and supporters in the community worked tirelessly to secure the 400 highly skilled refining jobs at risk, which are vital to the local economy.


The threat of closure became increasingly dire when talks between the oil company and a private equity fund broke down in April.


Klesch Group confirmed that it signed a purchase order for the site last week. The deal is to be completed by October 31.


Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke explained the strategy Unite took to secure the refinery’s future. He said, “We lobbied hard in Westminster and in the Welsh parliament to see whether they could provide assistance in finding a buyer.


“For a long, long time we used patience and persistence, we were behind the scenes every step of the way. The jobs at risk were highly skilled jobs, so we were confident if we could just find a buyer, we’d save the jobs, the refinery and the community.”


The Milford Haven refinery, located in a rural part of West Wales and in operation since 1973, is a bedrock of local economic activity. Its closure would have sent shock waves throughout the community.


“The local area relies heavily on the Milford Haven refinery,” said Tony Burke. “The supply chain would have been very badly affected. It would have affected everyone from the fish and chip shop down the corner to construction workers to contractors to the workers at the refinery. The closure would have been devastating.”


He added, “We need a strategic, balanced plan for the UK’s energy needs. Closing refineries means we become reliant on imported refined fuel products. All it takes is one problem in the world and we’re faced with a fuel shortage. That’s not a strategy.”


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