Staff face bleak Christmas

SCORES of staff at power firm E.ON are set to lose their jobs in January - six months before the company finally leaves its Wherstead Park offices.The news is set to increase anger and frustration towards E.

SCORES of staff at power firm E.ON are set to lose their jobs in January - six months before the company finally leaves its Wherstead Park offices.

The news is set to increase anger and frustration towards E.ON who have been criticised for calling time on their Ipswich operation and reducing redundancy by up to a quarter just a month before the announcement was made.

The company has claimed that redundancy payments were brought into line with other parts of the business.

The Evening Star has today demanded answers from the energy giant and has vowed to back the ditched workforce in their hour of need.

A spokesman for the company today confirmed that a number of workers will be shown the door shortly after Christmas.

The spokesman said: “The 90-day consultation process with employees ends in January 2008.

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“Roles will come to an end between January and June with redeployment and redundancy taking place during this period.

“The consultation process includes working with our employees to determine end dates and redeployment details as appropriate, and we will be paying a retention bonus to colleagues who remain with us until the agreed leaving date.”

This week's bad news is likely to be compounded by the fact that January is traditionally the toughest time of the year financially.

Citizens Advice Bureau branches across the UK routinely report increases in people seeking debt advice immediately following Christmas.

Issues such as being paid early in December, the cost of Christmas and the landing of large bills on the doormat combine to persuade large numbers of people to seek help.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich CAB money advice team said: “There is an increase in the number of people coming to see us after Christmas because people tend to spend a lot over that period.

“People get caught in a pincer movement of easy credit and advertising putting pressure on them to spend.

“Losing your job at this time can put extra pressure on you to spend more to try and make it a particularly good Christmas because they are worried about what the New Year is about to bring.”

Anyone in need of financial advice can contact Ipswich's Citizens Advice Bureau on 01473 219777.

Do you work at E.ON? Are you upset about the current situation? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The questions:

1. Given the huge outpouring of anger will you reconsider your decision to close Wherstead Park?

2. If yes, how can the Ipswich and Suffolk community help you build for an efficient and successful future?

3. If you will not reconsider will you honour original redundancy terms?

4. Staff have told us they were informed a month ago that their jobs were safe. Did E.ON brief anyone at Wherstead Park that redundancies were not going to be made and if so when?

5. Given the 60 years of distinguished service and profits from E.ON and its forebears will you donate the Wherstead Park complex to the community of Ipswich and Suffolk

6. Will you donate a multi-million pound package of support to the 339 workers affected.

7. Who knew when and where about the closure decision? Did the German bosses approve this?

8. Will you withdraw your sponsorship of Ipswich Town Football Club now that you logo is likely to be offensive to many people?

9. Was any thought given to closing other E.ON sites or was this the only one considered?

10. Why has it taken EON four years of ownership to work out what to do with Wherstead Park?

COMMENTS

Another blow for Ipswich, what will be next!!!

Anon, Ipswich

Surely Ipswich town would be kicking locals in the teeth by having E.ON as sponsor after a possible 300 of it's supporters lost their jobs?

Neil Walls, Ipswich

We just got told that we are shutting in January

E.ON staff, Wherstead Park

I work for E.ON and this is a joke, I am furious that they have done this coming up to Christmas.

Chris, E.ON (Ipswich)

It's commonly felt amongst work colleagues with E.ON that we have got a bad deal, its surprising how their redundancy packages have RECENTLY been reviewed prior to this announcement. As usual the people involved in the redundancies were the last to be informed!!!!!!!!! It's a very disappointing situation.

Anon, Wherstead

That's okay, E.ON move out of Ipswich I move power suppliers.

Tony, Kesgrave

As an E.ON employee I think it is disgusting how we have been treated today.

There has been rumours going around for months that our jobs were under threat and no directors within E.ON would confirm or deny these rumours until today. Also they informed us that the redundancy packages were renewed last week to our disadvantage which staff thought was very convenient.

There are many people who has given more than 5 years work to E.ON/TXU and all we get out is a couple of months wages, thank you and a goodbye!

x, Wherstead - EON

Oops! Better make it just six new hotels in the town centre then?!

Sarky, Ipswich

A sad situation. Ipswich is slowly developing and working to become a booming, modern town.

Not only do we have empty commercial properties in our town centre, we now face the prospects of large businesses also pulling out of the town. Interestingly, there are no comments from the local council or government on this situation.

Good workers are hard to come by.

Anon, Ipswich

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