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Stanlow Refinery Sale: Union warns Essar Oil of dispute with Shell

By John Donovan

Talks with Shell regarding expansion of union recognition for workers at the Stanlow Refinery have broken down. Unite the Union intends to pursue the issue through “legal channels”.

The union sent a related letter today (printed below) to Essar Oil Limited, the company named by Shell as the preferred bidder for the refinery. A deadline for the completion of negotiations between Shell and Essar for the sale of the refinery is only days away.

Part of the deal with Essar reportedly involves Shell taking a stake in the Indian company.


143 Sefton Street


L8 5SN

Tel:                  0151 728 2200

Fax:                  0151 728 2201

Our ref: gd/sw        EMAILED & POSTED 20th November 2009

Essar Oil Limited

Essar House

11 Keshavrao Khadye Marg


Mumbai    400 034


Essar Oil (UK) Limited

3rd Floor Landsdown House

57 Berkeley Square


For the attention of:  Mr Naresh Nayyar – Chief Executive Officer Energy Business Group

Dear Mr Naresh Nayyar

I am the Regional Officer of Unite responsible for our members employed at Shell Stanlow Refinery. Unite is the largest union in the UK and we have sole recognition at the Stanlow site.

I understand that your company has been awarded preferred bidder status by Shell. Therefore, Unite is anxious to meet with you prior to the completion of any sale agreement. I have been involved in transfers between European business and Indian business in the past, and great difficulties could have been avoided if we had met before the sale had been completed.

In one particular instance the purchasers of the business were unaware of the costs of providing occupational pension schemes, and of complying with our stringent health and safety standards. Had they known they would have negotiated a lower price for the business.

Unite wishes to work with you in continuing the success of Stanlow site, and it is important that you are advised of the current dispute with Shell on Trade Union recognition. This is likely to result in an application to the CAC that will be inherited under the TUPE arrangements.

I have received an assurance from someone I respect greatly that you wish to do business with Unite, and I ask that you contact my secretary as soon as possible to arrange a meeting.

I look forward to meeting you soon.

With best wishes

Graham Daley

Regional Officer

cc:  Mr Adil Malia – Group President HR

Mr Ron Wood

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