Union criticises port redundancies

A UNION today levelled sharp criticism at port operator ABP as it claimed more than 40 staff were to be made redundant in Ipswich.Unite said it had been in discussions with ABP in an attempt to reduce the number of redundancies at Ipswich port and improve redundancy conditions following the collapse of ferry operator Ferryways NV but accused the company of being “inflexible”.

A UNION today levelled sharp criticism at port operator ABP as it claimed more than 40 staff were to be made redundant in Ipswich.

Unite said it had been in discussions with ABP in an attempt to reduce the number of redundancies at Ipswich port and improve redundancy conditions following the collapse of ferry operator Ferryways NV but accused the company of being “inflexible”.

Unite said there would be 44 redundancies at the port but ABP declined to confirm the figure.

A statement from the union said: “The T&G section of Unite has been in discussions with the local management of Associated British Ports in Ipswich on redundancies following the loss of the Ferryways business.

“Forty four redundancies have been declared. The union has tried to reduce this number by suggesting a reduced use of agency labour and contract labour.

“Union leaders have also tried to minimise the impact of the redundancies by seeking an improvement on the very poor redundancy terms Associated British Ports has offered. They told ABP that £1,400 more than the statutory amount is an insult to an employee with 30 years service but that is the reality of what is on offer.”

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Victor Brazkiewicz, regional industrial organiser of the T&G section of Unite, said: “Despite discussions with the local and head office management of Associated British Ports, the company has refused to improve the redundancy payments.

“We know some employees would be willing to leave voluntarily if better payments were on offer and a major port employer the size of ABP can well afford to make better payments.”

“Associated British Ports seem to have taken a totally inflexible attitude to this and other aspects of the redundancy process.”

ABP said it could not respond to Unite's comments, saying it would continue with the consultation process over redundancies.

A spokesman for ABP said today: “ABP is still actively involved in the formal consultation process with both staff and Unite concerning the regrettable redundancies in Ipswich, which are entirely the result of the recent collapse of the ferry operator, Ferryways NV.

“On this basis, we are obviously unable to comment on the contents of the recent Unite press release.”

Are you worried about losing your job at Ipswich port? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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