Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Jobs Set to Go at Troubled Refinery

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Jobs Set to Go at Troubled Refinery

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Hughes Business writer mike.hughes@trinitymirror.com

MORE than 20 workers at the troubled Ensus refinery at Wilton are set to lose their jobs. The crisis-hit company, which produces fuel from crops such as wheat and corn, has told its 98 employees on Teesside that up to 22 job reductions may be necessary across all areas in order to reduce losses and ensure the long-term sustainability of the business.

Redcar's Labour MP Anna Turley said the Government "needed to pull its finger out" if the plant was to be saved.

The bio-refinery at Wilton has been mothballed since February due to continuing adverse market conditions across the European bioethanol industry and the Ensus parent company, CropEnergies, said earlier this year it was anticipating restructuring costs of up to 40 million euros as a result of the temporary shutdown.

With EU member states now having additional time to implement amendments to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), which are expected to be finalised shortly, it could take up to a year or more for European demand and prices to sustainably improve.

Grant Pearson, commercial director of Ensus UK, said: "No decisions have yet been taken and all options aimed at avoiding compulsory redundancies or minimising the number of employees affected will be explored during consultation with employees and their representatives over the next four to five weeks.

"We would urge the UK and other European Governments to implement the amended RED as quickly as possible as it will open up the possibility for E10 product to be rolled out across Europe providing a basis for improved supply and demand balance. The decarbonisation of the transport sector is one of the UK Government's key commitments under the Climate Change Act.

"In the meantime, CropEnergies is continuing to support the business, not only to keep the plant ready for restart, but also to work on specific reliability improvement projects at the site. Retaining the Ensus capacity will allow CropEnergies to grow once market conditions improve."

Ms Turley said: "It is really disappointing news, devastating for workers at the site. I understand the long-term commitment to this plant from Ensus is strong. …

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