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Air Products Quits Teesside

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

GMB Blames Company’s Incompetence As Air Products Announces It Is Quitting Two Major Energy Construction Projects

The knock-on effect is going to deny work for the local supply chain and jobs for local people in both running the plants and maintaining them says GMB

GMB, the union for engineering construction workers, commented on the announcement that Air Products is to “exit” the energy-from-waste (EfW) business. (See notes to editors for previous GMB press releases about Air products).

The company was building two EfW plants in Teesside, but announced last November that it would suspend construction of its second EfW project resulting in 700 job losses.

In a company statement, Air products blamed “additional design and operational challenges” for their decision.

Michael Blench, GMB Regional Officer, said “This is another crushing blow for employment on Teesside.

Both Tees Valley energy from waste projects, TV1 and TV2, have provided employment for the region but the inability of Air Products to purchase the right, proven technology and then its reported incompetence at rectifying the design flaws has now resulted in both plants being potentially scrapped.

The knock-on effect is going to deny work for the local supply chain and jobs for local people in both running the plants and maintaining them. You couldn't invent a story like this if you tried.”

End

Contact: Michael Blench 07870 176748 or Phil Whitehurst 07968 338810 or GMB press office on 07970 863 411 or 07739 182 691

Notes to Editors

1 GMB press release dated Friday, November 13, 2015

GMB Members Accept Severance Terms For Job Losses On Suspended Air Products Teesside TV2 Energy From Waste Construction Site

Until the TV1 energy from waste project works properly there are little prospects of work on TV2 being restarted before a delay of between six and twelve months says GMB.

GMB engineering construction members have voted almost unanimously to accept an offer from Air Products to cover severance terms on the 700 job losses after the suspension of construction of the second energy from waste project (TV2) in Port Clarence in Tees Valley on Teesside.  See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release and company media statement when the suspension was announced on 5th November.

The decision was made at a mass meeting in Middlesbrough attended by 500 workers where GMB officers put the details of the offer covering notice and consultation period.

Michael Blench, GMB Regional Officer, said “This was a well conducted meeting to put to members the outcome of talks with Air Products covering terms for severance following the suspension of work at TV2.  The vote to accept the offer was almost unanimous.

The news last week was very bad and most unwelcome. This new deal will tide over till Christmas these members and their families.

We are still in talks with Air Products. We now know that until the TV1 energy from waste project works properly there are little prospects of work on TV2 being restarted. I consider that we are looking at a delay of between six and twelve months.”

End

 2 GMB press release dated 5th November 2015.

700 JOB SUSPENDED ON AIR PRODUCTS ENERGY FROM WASTE CONSTRUCTION SITE ON TEESSIDE IS DEVASTATING NEWS SEVEN WEEKS BEFORE XMAS

There are talks with Air Products to try to resolve this appalling situation where due to  no fault of their own members have been dismissed with no prior consultation says GMB

GMB, the union for engineering construction workers, responded to the decision by Air Products to suspend construction of the second energy from waste project (TV2) in Port Clarence in Tees Valley on Teesside.  See notes to editors for copy of company media statement.

Michael Blench, GMB Regional Officer for construction, said "This is yet another crushing blow for the workers on Teesside. Seven weeks away from Christmas 700 workers are told they are no longer required.

This project was being built by the client Air Products who decided to also undertake the role of Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) management. It was duly signed up to category 1 of the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction industry (NAECI). It is 75% completed with excellent productivity and very good Industrial relations.

The problems seemed to be in a technology failure on the previous Tees Valley 1 plant which was constructed for Air Products next door by EPC company Foster Wheeler Energy.

All workers on site were told due to the problems with the TV 1 project that all work would now stop on TV 2 and they were that as of 1.30pm today (5th Novembers) they were finished on the project.

GMB are in talks with Air Products to try to resolve this appalling situation, where due to no fault of their own members have been dismissed with no prior consultation regarding the disastrous situation with the technological problems on the site.”

End

3 Copy of media statement – Air Products dated 5th November 2015

After careful consideration we have made a decision to temporarily suspend construction of our second energy from waste project (TV2) in Tees Valley, UK.  This decision does not reflect on the performance of our 700 highly-professional contractor colleagues currently working on the TV2 project, who will sadly be impacted by the suspension in work.

The duration of the suspension is yet to be determined but we remain committed to completing both facilities as soon as possible.  We will work with our contactors to wind down TV2 construction activity in a controlled way.

As with many ground breaking projects, improvements are identified as construction advances and new solutions put in place.  This is the case for our first renewable energy facility currently being built (TV1).  The learnings we are making here will be applicable to our second plant.  By deferring construction we will be able to ensure any modifications are applied to TV2 in a cost-effective way when activity is resumed.

Work on our first renewable energy project will not be interrupted.  Our team remains focused on safe construction of this plant, as we continue progression through to its operation.

Although not part of our original plan, in the long-term, this decision will aid the overall operational success and future of both our renewable energy facilities at Teesside.

ENDS)

Media contact: Nicola Long (07919145559 / longn@airproducts.com )

Notes to Editors

About Air Products’ Renewable Energy Facilities in Teesside

Air Products Tees Valley facilities (TV-1 and TV-2) are located in the Northeast of England.  They are two of the most innovative renewable energy projects in the world and the first of their kind in the UK.

Both facilities use state-of-the-art advanced plasma gasification technology. Advanced plasma gasification is a type of “advanced conversion technology” (ACT). It is an innovative, carbon-lean process that uses very high temperatures to efficiently convert waste to a fuel gas called syngas. The syngas is then used in to generate renewable, “baseload” electricity

The facilities will:

Generate 49.9MW of electricity per plant, enough to provide electricity to the equivalent of over 100,000 homes

Divert over 350,000 tons per plant a year of non-recyclable waste from landfill

Provide an environmentally responsible means of producing reliable “baseload” electricity

Help the country and region to achieve renewable energy targets and reduce landfill

Create over 1500 construction jobs in the Tees Valley area while helping to stimulate the local economy

Provide over 100 technical job opportunities in the renewable energy sector

More information is available at: www.airproducts.co.uk/teesvalley

About Air Products
Air Products (NYSE:APD) is a world-leading Industrial Gases company celebrating 75 years of operation. The company’s core Industrial Gases business provides atmospheric and process gases and related equipment to manufacturing markets, including refining and petrochemical, metals, electronics, and food and beverage. Air Products is also the world’s leading supplier of liquefied natural gas process technology and equipment. The company’s Materials Technologies business, which Air Products intends to spin-off by September 2016, serves the semiconductor, polyurethanes, cleaning and coatings, and adhesives industries.

The company had fiscal 2015 sales of $9.9 billion and was ranked number 284 on the Fortune 500 annual list of public companies. Approximately 20,000 employees in 50 countries strive to make Air Products the world’s safest and best performing Industrial Gases company, providing sustainable offerings and excellent service to all customers. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.

 

 

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