Tuesday 19 November 2019

BP faces wave of protest at AGM

Getty Images
Getty Images

Oil giant BP is facing a wave of protests as it holds its annual general meeting in London days before the first anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Fishermen and women from the US Gulf Coast who were hit by the massive oil spill that followed the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig last April will be at the AGM tomorrow as shareholders.

They will be joined by indigenous communities who are angry at BP's involvement in tar sands extraction in Canada, while activists will be holding protests outside the AGM and around London in the coming week against the oil giant.

Scores of workers involved in a dispute at a BP-owned biofuels plant near Hull will also stage a demonstration outside the meeting, some dressed as an oil slick, linking their row with the firm's "irresponsible" behaviour in the Gulf.

They will be accompanied by a Mexican band as well as waving flags and banners with slogans saying: BP Workers - Locked Out But Not Knocked Out.

Hundreds of workers say they have been "locked out" of the contract to build the new plant at Saltend, near Hull, after the project fell behind schedule

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, said: "We are organising for the locked out workers to come to London to draw attention to the irresponsible behaviour of BP and link it to the oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico."

Talks aimed at resolving the row are due to start at the conciliation service Acas.

Diane Wilson, a fourth-generation fisherwoman from Texas who protested when then BP chief executive Tony Hayward's gave evidence to a US Congressional committee, says she is going to the meeting to "call BP to account for its actions in the Gulf".

"The massive nature of the oil catastrophe means it can't be covered up, even by BP," she said.

"It's everywhere, from 5,000ft down to miles upon miles across and then spread in the ocean's currents.

"I am coming to articulate the anger of thousands of Gulf Coast residents whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed while the BP board continues to prosper."

The group of Gulf Coast residents will be in the AGM with representatives of Canadian indigenous communities who are protesting over BP's involvement in extracting "tar sands", a heavily polluting form of oil, in their territories.

PA Media

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