Mossmorran workers down tools over safety concerns

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Refinery workers at Mossmorran have downed tools over safety concerns.

The action on Tuesday saw around 200 members of the Unite trade union withdraw their labour over health and safety concerns at the giant petrochemical plant with a call for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to step in.

The company said it was aware of the “unofficial action instigated by a small number of individuals” employed by contractors on site, and said the plant operated in full compliance with safety standards and procedures.

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The union said it had received reports from workers citing repeated examples over a year that alarm systems are not working in areas at the plant and workers not being notified. It said this was legally required in the event of any leakages, blasts or exposure to hazardous materials and chemicals at the plant.

ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran (Pic: TSPL)ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran (Pic: TSPL)
ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran (Pic: TSPL)

Around 200 workers have withdrawn their labour, and the union said ExxonMobil and the contractors have, to date, refused to pay the workers.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary said: “It is completely unacceptable that the company and the various contractors on site are refusing to pay our members their wages. This is a legal duty and not open to interpretation. Our members will be receiving their union’s unflinching support.”

Unite’s members are employed on construction engineering maintenance contracts, split between different contractors at the plant - Altrad, Bilfinger, and Kaefer. It is further calling on the Health and Safety Executive to immediately investigate due to the seriousness of the claims raised by the workforce, claiming there have been various recorded incidents at the plant over safety, the risk of pollution and environmental damage.

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Bob MacGregor, Unite industrial officer, added: “This is not an isolated incident, these safety breaches and failings have been ongoing for around a year and nothing to date has been resolved."

An ExxonMobil spokesperson said: ‘’We are aware of unofficial action instigated by a small number of individuals employed by contracting companies on our site. ’There is no impact on our operations, which continue as normal. Fife Ethylene Plant operates in full compliance with approved site safety standards and procedures.’’