Portworkers to vote on pay cuts

PORTWORKERS will vote at the end of the month on whether to accept proposed pay cuts to avoid redundancies.Union officials at the Port of Felixstowe - Britain's biggest container terminal - say they are currently studying the detail of Hutchison Ports' proposals in advance of mass meetings with the workforce next week.

PORTWORKERS will vote at the end of the month on whether to accept proposed pay cuts to avoid redundancies.

Union officials at the Port of Felixstowe - Britain's biggest container terminal - say they are currently studying the detail of Hutchison Ports' proposals in advance of mass meetings with the workforce next week.

Changes to contracts for all staff will mean a temporary pay cut of between six and 11 per cent for this year, depending what package people are on.

The changes include the scrapping of all bonus schemes for this year, two days compulsory unpaid leave for workers on 12-hour shifts and three days for those doing eight-hour days, axing of the “hot seat” changeover payments, removal of canteen subsidies, and closure of the port on Boxing Day.

Convenor for the union Unite, Phil Pemberton said management had assured union officials that if the changes are accepted there will be no compulsory redundancies this year and no further changes to employees' contracts either.

“The shop stewards committee is currently looking at the detail of the proposals and we will then decide where we are going with this,” said Mr Pemberton.

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“The workforce will attend mass meetings next week and will give us some feedback on how they feel.

“We will then make our response to the management, and the workforce will be balloted towards the end of the month.

“Obviously the ultimate goal for the union is to keep jobs and also to try to retain a level of terms and conditions for the workers.”

The recession has caused a downturn in business for the port which has been equivalent to losing a major customer.

It is though determined to avoid redundancies and not lose trained, skilled workers.

Are you prepared to take a pay cut to keep your job? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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