Unite the union will be calling on the government to intervene and secure the future of the Coryton oil refinery in Essex, following the announcement by administrators that it intends to close the site.

The union is seeking an urgent meeting with ministers in a bid to avert the refinery’s closure and ensure the continuity of petrol supplies. The refinery supplies 20% of petrol to London and the South East, leading Unite to warn that its threatened closure could further undermine the fragile state of the UK’s refining capacity.

The news comes as a bitter blow to 1,000 permanent staff and contractors who have worked tirelessly to keep the plant running since the refinery’s owner Petroplus went into administration in January. The union will be consulting with its members over the coming days.

Unite national officer Linda McCulloch said: “The news is a bitter blow for the workforce, who against a backdrop of increasing uncertainty, have kept Coryton running.

“We urge the government to intervene to secure the future of Coryton and the continuity of petrol supplies. Coryton is a vital part in the UK’s energy supply and cannot be allowed to simply wither on the vine.

“Its closure would not only be bad for the local economy, but be bad for consumers and businesses who rely on the oil supplied by the refinery. The security of the nation’s oil supply is vital and cannot be allowed to fall victim to the market. The government has a role to play in helping us secure the refinery’s future.”

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