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Antwerp refineries under threat from strikes

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

ExxonMobil has said that it is planning to go ahead with shutting down a 320 000 bpd refinery in the Belgian city of Antwerp because workers could go on strike at the plant. Unions have told Exxon they intend to strike on November 23, as the company has refused to start talks about improved pay conditions.

The BBTK union said talks with Exxon had started, and could last until the early hours of Saturday. A spokesman for the union said if Exxon agreed to accept a list of union demands, then the strike threat could be removed.

Meanwhile, France's Total denied that the strike threat had spread from Exxon to its own refinery in Antwerp. Workers at the group's 360 000 bpd Antwerp refinery will not join a strike planned at ExxonMobil's refinery in the same Belgian city, after management reached a deal over pay on November 17.

The head of personnel at the refinery said management had reached a deal with unions on Thursday.

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