MOSCOW (MRC) -- Workers at LyondellBasell Industries protested outside the company’s Houston refinery against the suspension of a local union president in a dispute about safety practices, reported Reuters with reference to a United Steelworkers (USW) official's statement.
A Lyondell representative was not immediately available to discuss the protest.
Lance Spurlock, president of USW Local 13-227, which represents 450 workers at the 263,776 barrel-per-day (bpd) Houston refinery, was suspended on Wednesday pending dismissal by Lyondell following the dispute, said Marcos Velez, USW staff representative.
Spurlock told a company supervisor a union member could not be required to operate a crane at the refinery, Velez said.
Following the dispute, a plant supervisor told the company Spurlock used unethical and inappropriate language in disputing the assignment of the worker, who is not trained to operate a crane, Velez said.
"If Lance had said half the stuff they say he said, we wouldn’t be here," Velez told the 100 workers gathered for the lunchtime protest outside the refinery’s administration building in east Houston.
Velez said Spurlock and a union member present during the dispute with the supervisor both denied that Spurlock used an expletive in talking to the supervisor.
Local 13-227 has been arguing with the company over crane operations at the refinery since 2008, when a 420-foot (128-metre) crane fell over in an accident that killed four people and injured seven others, all of whom were contractors.
Federal investigators found a contractor operating the crane at the time of the accident did not have the training to operate a crane of that size.
As MRC informed previously, in September 2019, LyondellBasell sarted up a new, fifth production line at its polypropylene (PP) compounding plant in Knapsack, Germany capable of producing 25 kt/yr. With this, capacity of the Knapsack facility is over 200 kt/yr, making the site "the world’s largest polypropylene compounding facility".
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, the estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 796,120 tonnes in January-July 2019, up by 11% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.
LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Driven by its 13,000 employees around the globe, LyondellBasell produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, and improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road. LyondellBasell sells products into approximately 100 countries and is the world's largest licensor of polyolefin technologies.