Redundancy anger after jobs blow

REDUNDANCY packages for nearly 340 Suffolk workers whose jobs have been axed were reduced just a week before the losses were announced, it has been claimed.

REDUNDANCY packages for nearly 340 Suffolk workers whose jobs have been axed were reduced just a week before the losses were announced, it has been claimed.

Just last week it is believed bosses changed the redundancy packages they give to employees - meaning workers could miss out on around £600,000 in compensation.

Richard Hardy, negotiating officer with trade union Prospect, which has between 120 and 130 members at Wherstead Park, said: “Obviously the decision to close the centre is very disappointing, but the real kick in the teeth is the reduction in redundancy packages.

“If the 300 plus workers had been made redundant last week they would have received a total of £2.5m in compensation - now they're only getting £1.9m.

“It's disgusting and not the way that you would expect a major multi-national company to behave. It's the corporate management who have taken this callous decision and we will soon be going to our members to see what they want to do about it.”

A spokeswoman for E.ON confirmed they had recently introduced a common framework for redundancy payments across the company.

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She said: “These are intended to replace the variety of ad hoc arrangements we currently operate.

“We would not comment on the redundancy implications of today's announcement since redeployment is still a very real possibility for many affected employees.

“However, anyone who is unable to be redeployed will be offered a redundancy package that is considerably more favourable than statutory requirements.”

Wherstead Park falls within the boundary of Babergh District Council and is the constituency of south Suffolk Conservative MP, Tim Yeo.

He said: “It's a terrible blow. The crucial thing is to make sure that employees have another job to go to and I'm keen to help everybody who is having difficulties in this respect.

“Also of importance is the future of the site. It is owned by Babergh for business use and it's important that we find someone else to come in and use the site.”

Mike Hammond, Babergh's corporate director, said it was looking at the possibility of matching skills to existing vacancies in the district by writing to all businesses.

It is also offering to put the redundant workers in touch with companies that may have positions available.

Mr Hammond assured the council would be working with any potential new owner to ensure the site would be retained for business use, as designated in the local plan.

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