Coryton oil refinery workers in Essex attend last day

Coryton oil refinery
Image caption Ministers said overcapacity in the refining industry meant it would not be sustainable to provide government help

The final wave of staff to be made redundant at the Coryton oil refinery in Essex are working their last shifts.

Up to 850 workers at the site near Stanford le Hope were served redundancy notices after the site's owner Petroplus collapsed in January.

A skeleton staff will remain on site to monitor the plant until it is handed over to the new owners.

The refinery is to become an import terminal for petrol and diesel operated by Royal Vopak, Greenergy and Shell UK.

The plant, which previously supplied 20% of London and the South East's fuel, ceased production in June.

'Completely wrong'

Administrator PwC said staff reductions had already been "substantially completed" at the plant.

It said 60 Petroplus staff and 10 contractors, including cleaners and security personnel, would remain on site.

The announcement of the plant's closure sparked a number of protests by workers, with the Unite union stating it would be "a disaster for the workforce and surrounding local economy."

In June, Labour leader Ed Miliband said the government's decision not to support the refinery was "completely wrong", but the government said it was not in the national interest to provide financial support.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said overcapacity in the refining industry and declining demand for petrol meant it would not be sustainable for the government to provide assistance.

Thurrock Council chief executive Graham Farrant said many of the workers were being helped to find new jobs.

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