Strike threat by ICI workers

AN announcement by ICI Paints that they are to make 28 compulsory redundancies while taking on 21 new people could result in strike action, The Evening Star can reveal today.

AN announcement by ICI Paints that they are to make 28 compulsory redundancies while taking on 21 new people could result in strike action, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Members of Amicus and T&G trade unions attended meetings in Stowmarket and at the company headquarters in Slough to get reports back from negotiating teams following the prospect of 133 redundancies announced earlier this year.

It was unanimously agreed at yesterday's meetings that if ICI Paints continued with its proposals then the unions would be forced to ballot for industrial action.

A spokesman for the combined unions, told The Star: "This is a disgrace and we question ICI's motives in dismissing loyal members of staff and then employing 21 people from outside the company to take on similar roles.

"Indeed, the unions have questioned whether this is a true redundancy situation and are concerned that ICI is operating outside the law."

The unions say ICI is refusing to listen to their proposals to save these jobs which would involve deploying and retraining existing staff in to new roles rather than look outside of the company.

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No one was available at ICI Paints either at Stowmarket or Slough to discuss the employment situation with The Evening Star but a spokesman said they were aware that meetings were being held.

A further meeting with the company has been arranged between bosses and unions tomorrow and a union representative said it will be a crucial meeting.

"We hope the company will begin to listen to our attempts to save these employees' jobs and protect their families from an uncertain future.

"And in doing so protect the future of the British manufacturing industry."

In May ICI announced 700 jobs would be going within the company both at home, at sites in Slough and Hull, plus more abroad.

Then trouble loomed in July for ICI Paints in Stowmarket where around 90 people were employed in their Needham Road depot.

Cuts needed to be made, claimed the company, to fit in with a restructuring programme that was necessary to stop sliding profits.

A consultation period was started which was to sort out how the changes and staff cuts would be made.

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