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Workers hit by jobs shock

PUBLISHED: 18:12 14 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:31 03 March 2010

UP TO 100 people are set to lose their jobs as one of Suffolk's best-known transport firms closes two of its biggest yards, including its Felixstowe depot.

UP TO 100 people are set to lose their jobs as one of Suffolk's best-known transport firms closes two of its biggest yards, including its Felixstowe depot.

It can be revealed today that Taylor Barnard Container Services Ltd is closing its container park and premises on the edge of Felixstowe's port.

All staff – office workers and truckers – have been given one week's notice, though efforts are being made to avoid compulsory redundancy by finding other jobs for them within the group.

For some, though, this could mean having to uproot their families and move to another part of the country.

It is understood that Taylor Barnard – which was last year bought by the TNT Post Group for an undisclosed sum – is to concentrate on its core activities of warehousing and distribution, and containers do not form part of its future plans.

In addition to the closure of the Felixstowe yard, it is axing its premises in Southampton with the move affecting 100 people in total.

Today lorry drivers spoke of their anger and frustration at the decision to close the premises in Nicholas Road and end the long association the company has enjoyed with Felixstowe.

One driver said 41 truckers and office workers were affected at Felixstowe, though a few had recently left to secure other jobs.

"We knew nothing about this coming at all – it has hit us all for six. We suddenly got phone calls at home giving us one week's redundancy with no reasons, no paperwork, no chance to speak to anyone," said one driver.

"People are shattered. There are people here with mortgages and families to look after, and they just don't know what to do.

"If you go somewhere else, it's two years before your job is secure again.

"Those who left recently have missed out on the redundancy package, but we are only getting the bare minimum – a month's severance and £240 for every year we have worked here. It's a disgrace."

An official from the Transport and General Workers' Union had been invited to meet lorry drivers and liase with management.

Peter Carter, managing director of Taylor Barnard, said that following a period of negotiation with Roadways Container Logistics Ltd (RCL), the company was completing the sale of its container park.

Staff associated with the container park will transfer to RCL, but the transport side of Taylor Barnard Container Services will not form part of the sale and will be discontinued.

Taylor Barnard was the UK's largest privately-owned logistics company when it was sold to TNT Post Group a year ago.

With headquarters at Mendlesham, near Stowmarket, it operates from more than 60 sites around the country with a workforce of 2,200.

The company annual turnover is around £115 million. It has a fleet of more than 750 vehicles in either its own livery or those of its clients and operates 3.5 million sq ft of warehousing space, providing logistics services to a wide range of sectors including food manufacturers, building, electrical, industrial paper, packaging retail, and healthcare clients.

The company traces its origins back to 1905 when O G Barnard founded a garage business in Stowmarket which later diversified into commercial haulage.

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