Mossmorran plant: Workers stage unofficial walkout over safety fears
More than 100 workers have walked out of the Exxonmobil plant at Mossmorran in Fife over safety fears on the site.
The contractors, believed to be from German company Bilfinger, left the petrochemical site earlier this morning.
It has been reported Union GMB said the workers had "continuously raised their concerns about conditions and safety on-site."
According to The Daily Record, a source claimed more than 100 workers left the site and will return early tomorrow morning.
ExxonMobil has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks to cutback on flaring at Mossmorran.
There were reports of huge flaring on Thursday, February 14 with residents making complaints to environment watchdog Sepa.
Many residents took to social media to complain about the bright flames being visible from as far away as Edinburgh.
“Workers have continuously raised their concerns about conditions and safety on-site but have frankly been ignored.
“You can’t operate a major gas terminal this way and it shouldn’t be beyond the capabilities of Exxon and their sub-contractors to ensure workers feel safe and valued.”
A spokesman for Bilfinger said: “Workers employed by a separate contractor at the Fife Ethylene Plant in Mossmorran staged an unofficial industrial action on Monday, which a number of our employees joined with unofficial sympathy action. This action resulted in a dispute over payment for the time our employees had withdrawn their labour.
“We are now working closely with our employees and the trade union, Unite, to quickly resolve this.”
He said there was no dispute relating to working conditions, welfare, redundancy measures and health and safety between Bilfinger employees working at the plant and Bilfinger UK, and added: “We maintain an open dialogue with our employees and have rigorous health and safety processes in place, with no incidents reported since the contract began in September 2019.
“Our continued focus is on the ongoing success of our operations at the plant, safeguarding the long-term employment of our skilled and experienced workforce.”
Political pressure continued to surround the plant, with Mark Ruskell, Green MSP,supporting the workers who walked out.
He said: “Mossmorran is an industrial relic and the frontline of our climate emergency challenge.
Mark Ruskell MSP has offered support to workers.
He said: “The Mossmorran workers are absolutely right to take a stand. This comes on a day when SEPA, which monitors the risk of pollution or environmental damage, has rated the site ‘poor’.
He said Mossmorran is an industrial relic and the "frontline of our climate emergency challenge."
"This community faces an uncertain future, with no attempt to build sustainable alternative jobs in the area.
“Neither ministers or operators have engaged enough with this community.
"The plant must be made fit for a net-zero carbon Scotland or they must plan well ahead for closure. If the plant has to shut in the years to come, then discussions about what is next for this community need to start now.”
James Glen, chair of Mossmorran Action Group said: "How can communities have confidence that Mossmorran is safe when 100 workers have staged a walk-out in part over health and safety concerns at the ethylene plant?
"On the day when Sepa gives Exxon a poor rating on its 2018 performance, workers take industrial action over safety concerns and the operator responsible announces it will boycott a public meeting with regulators for a third time, it is hugely disappointing that environment minister Roseanna Cunningham says she is too busy to come to Lochgelly on Friday meeting to attend the same public meeting."
This story first appeared on our sister title Fife Today