Shell Convent Refinery Layoffs to Begin in Late February

Reuters, December 18, 2020

Layoffs of hourly workers at Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s shuttered Convent, Louisiana, refinery are scheduled to begin on the last day of February, said sources familiar with plant operations.

The next round of layoffs is scheduled for March 31, the sources said.

A Shell spokesman did not reply to a request for comment.

About 350 hourly workers will leave jobs they have performed for years at the 211,146 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery located 46 miles (74 km) west of New Orleans.

Dwindling numbers of workers will remain at the refinery into the third quarter of 2021, sources have told Reuters.

Initially, they will be engaged in the clean-up and preparation of units for an extended outage as Shell continues offering the plant for sale.

By mid-February, workers being laid off at Convent will know if they have been picked to fill open positions at the company’s refinery in Norco, Louisiana, or chemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana, the sources said.

The United Steelworkers union (USW), representing hourly workers, and Shell agreed in late November that employees will be paid three weeks for every year of service with a minimum of 12 weeks and a maximum of 78 weeks, sources familiar with the agreement told Reuters in November.

Shell completed the final shutdown of the refinery on Sunday.

Shell announced on Nov. 5 it would be shuttering the refinery after attempts to sell the plant between July and October were unsuccessful.

The refinery became unprofitable as COVID-19 spread across the United States in the late winter and spring, cutting demand for motor fuels as auto and air travel was reduced to a trickle.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Tom Brown and Daniel Wallis)

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