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A Fife MP has called for an urgent assessment of how proposed job cuts at Mossmorran would impact safety.
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath SNP MP Neale Hanvey has written to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) raising “serious concerns” about reductions in staff at Shell’s Fife NGL Plant at Mossmorran.
It is understood Shell intends to axe 63 out of 77 contractor jobs at the plant – a move trade union Unite has claimed could put lives at risk.
However, Shell has maintained, despite not disputing Unite’s figures, that not all roles being lost relate to “safety critical maintenance” and has given an assurance that safety at the plant would not be compromised.
Mr Hanvey said: “We must know what impact Shell’s plans will have on the safety of the site at Mossmorran.
“That’s why I’m calling for an independent assessment to be conducted by Sepa and HSE, and Shell must halt plans to cut jobs until we get these results.
“The first I heard about the proposed job cuts was from Shell to tell me that the news was about to hit the press. That is simply not good enough. And it only stokes suspicions that these proposed cuts are nothing more than corporate opportunism to bolster the bottom line.”
Mr Hanvey came under fire from campaigners from Mossmorran Action Group (MAG) at the weekend, with MAG taking to Twitter to say constituents deserved “a lot more from their MP”.
It followed a spat on social media between Mr Hanvey and Labour MSP Alex Rowley, who demanded the Scottish Government provided communities with answers about the safety of operations at Mossmorran.
Mr Hanvey said while he was working with operators, regulators and Unite to save jobs and improve safety Labour was calling for “closure and mass job losses”.
@JNHanvey Extremely disappointing. Your constituents – you know, the ones who live in fear, with aggravated health condition and who have been out protesting the last two Saturdays – deserve a lot more from their MP. @Alex_RowleyMSP @markruskell @C_ARobertson @FifeFreePressEd https://t.co/OYBB3Sbj4G
— Mossflare (@Mossflare1) October 25, 2020
Mr Hanvey added: “Let me be frank, Shell has a moral obligation to the community to provide high-value, local jobs at a well-functioning and safe plant.
“I will continue to work constructively with the operators, regulators, and the community to make sure Mossmorran plays a positive role now and in the future as we transition to a net zero energy economy.”
A Shell spokesperson said: “Nothing comes before the safety of people – both in our daily operations or when maintaining our plants’ integrity for the years ahead.
“Standards needed to meet the requirements of safety and environmental regulators are rigorous, and rightly so.
“All decisions about how we run plants are taken knowing we must continue to meet those standards, along with our commitments to the community. We are a significant local employer and contribute to the region’s supply chain, and we take that responsibility seriously.”