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Home » UK Business News • UK Employment news » ExxonMobil Scottish refinery workers go on strike over safety fears
ExxonMobil workers at a Scottish refinery have gone on strike over safety concerns, prompting a probe by the Health and Safety Executive.
The agency will look into the Mossmorran refinery in Cowdenbeath after industrial action on Tuesday, August 15.
Unite, the union representing the workers, said around 200 employees exercised their legal right to withdraw labor under the Employment Rights Act.
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Their concerns are over perceived lapses in health and safety protocols at the petrochemical plant.
ExxonMobil disputed the numbers, saying fewer than 100 workers participated in the walkout, and emphasized many Unite members remained uninvolved.
The company stressed the Fife Ethylene Plant adheres to approved safety standards and procedures.
Unite highlighted issues related to malfunctioning health and safety warning systems and insufficient protective measures as reasons for the walkout.
The union accused ExxonMobil and contracted companies Altrad, Bilfinger, and Kaefer of neglecting their “legal duty” to safeguard and remunerate workers.
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Unite reported instances where alarm systems were non-functional in parts of the plant, and workers were not notified.
It violates legal requirements in the event of leaks, explosions, or exposure to hazardous substances.
The union further alleged that workers had their pay withheld, contrary to employment laws protecting their right to refuse unsafe work without wage loss.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite will robustly defend the legal right of our members to withdraw their labour over health and safety concerns at ExxonMobil’s Mossmorran plant.
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“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 members at the plant are employed under various construction engineering maintenance contracts with different contractors: Altrad, Bilfinger, and Kaefer.
The union urged the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to investigate promptly due to the seriousness of the allegations.
The refinery has reportedly faced previous safety incidents and environmental concerns.
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