Workers split over pay cuts

WORKERS at Britain's biggest port are split over whether or not to accept pay cuts to avoid redundancies.

WORKERS at Britain's biggest port are split over whether or not to accept pay cuts to avoid redundancies.

Management, office and supervisory staff at Felixstowe voted to accept the proposals, but hourly-paid workers on the quaysides rejected them.

It is understood that only a minority of the quayside workers took part in their ballot.

They will now be balloted again to get their views on whether they would consider industrial action. There would then be a further vote on any action.

Changes to contracts for all staff will mean a temporary pay cut of between six and 11 per cent for this year, depending what package people are on.

The changes include the scrapping of all bonus schemes for this year, two days compulsory unpaid leave for workers on 12-hour shifts and three days for those doing eight-hour days, axing of the “hot seat” changeover payments, removal of canteen subsidies, and closure of the port on Boxing Day.

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The Unite union has been told if the changes are accepted there will be no compulsory redundancies this year and no further changes to employees' contracts.

Neville Mayes, branch secretary for ACTSS, a trade group of Unite which represents clerical, technical and supervisory staff, said his members had voted 172 in favour of the pay cuts and 77 against.

“It has been a very emotive time for people,” he said.

“My impression has been that the company were determined to get this through. Sometimes we have negotiations over what is proposed but this time there was a feeling of inevitability about it.”

Convenor for Unite, Phil Pemberton, was not available to comment.

Are you prepared to take a pay cut to keep your job? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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