Union brands cuts ‘contemptuous’

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THE mood of many FG Wilson employees has shifted from shock to anger in the wake of last Thursday’s announcement, according to a trade union official.

Following the news that 760 jobs are to be slashed by the end of the year, Unite – Britain and Ireland’s biggest union – held mass meetings with its members at the company’s three plants in Larne, Monkstown and Springvale.

And Jackie Pollock, Unite regional coordinator said employees have been left “angry and demoralised” by the way the job cuts have been handled.

He added that a 90-day consultation period with FG Wilson was expected to start yesterday (Wednesday). “We want the senior management to come to the table and explain the rationale behind this decision, and we want to know what the future holds for our members,” Mr Pollock said.

Meanwhile, Unite regional secretary Jimmy Kelly described FG Wilson’s actions as “contemptuous” and accused the company of throwing industrial relations guidelines “back to Victorian times”.

“Our members are spitting tacks at the way they are being treated,” he added. “FG Wilson’s contemptuous approach with its workforce is to be condemned.

“The high-calibre job losses are a crushing blow to the East Antrim area and Northern Ireland. The company has not given its workers or their union representatives the opportunity to negotiate a plan which would have attempted to keep some of the affected workers employed.”

“FG Wilson is required under European directives to consult with the appropriate representatives of any of the employees who may be affected directly or indirectly by the proposed dismissals.

“Also, European directives give our members at FG Wilson the right to be informed about the business economic situation and to be informed and consulted about employment prospects and about decisions, which may lead to substantial changes in work organisation or contractual relations, including redundancies and transfers. This directive applies to businesses with 50 or more employees.”

Mr Kelly went on to say: “Unite is still willing to sit down with the management and seek a way forward. The union is calling for these redundancies to be put on hold to see if we can find a way to reduce the number of job losses.”