The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 22nd December 2017

Christmas surprise job cuts

WORKERS in two companies, one in Hull and the other in Norwich, received sudden notices that their jobs have gone and in both cases the employers have been less than straightforward in delivering the bad news in ways that left the workers worse off than they need to have been.

In Hull 80 workers at Irving Utility Services Limited were told on Monday last week at a meeting convened by the management that there was no money and their engineering jobs were gone and the company was shutting down.

The exact reasons for the shock closure still remain a mystery but administrators have been called in.

To make matters worse they had been doing a lot of overtime to fulfil contracts by the end of the year and were expecting the extra pay for Christmas.

But now it seems they will not be paid at all for the last month’s work and are each owed between £2,000 and £3,500.

According to the Hull Daily Mail, the wife of one worker said: “Christmas has been cancelled.” She said: “My husband and his colleagues were called in by bosses on Monday morning when they were told there simply wasn’t any money.

“They were told they had lost their jobs and that they may not even get paid.

“They were all doing lots of overtime to get contracts finished which we thought would be really useful with Christmas approaching.

“Now we realise they probably wanted the contracts completed before going out of business.”

And in Norwich the drinks company Britvic chose the Christmas lunch to tell 242 workers that the company was pulling out of Norwich and their jobs were being cut.

Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis issued a statement on the company’s decision via Facebook: “I am so, so sorry for all the Britvic employees and families who’ve just got the news that Britvic have decided to leave our city.

“It’s a real kick in the teeth to the city of Norwich. The workers there will have felt that Britvic went into this process knowing full well which way it was going with this.

“It’s a real body blow for staff who have worked so hard and they have every right to feel hard done by.

“It’s an awful time of year for this to happen and they have to go back to their families knowing the company is leaving.

“There are of course knock-on effects for Colman’s too, which remain to be seen. This city and generations of families have contributed to making the brand what it is.

“I know that at least one trade union for the site is deeply unhappy with the way that the consultation preceding closure was conducted.

“I am working with that union to try and get some kind of more positive outcome from all of this for employees.”

Shortly after this Lewis discovered and reported a connection between Britvic and Persimmon Homes, the housebuilding company that could potentially benefit from the sudden availability of a substantial piece of land, which is in short supply in the city.

Persimmon Homes is at the centre of a controversy after its chair quit over a pay scheme that would result in the company’s chief executive receiving a pay packet of over £100 million — and a total of over £200 million shared amongst just three executives.

The decision of Britvic’s CEO to join the board of Persimmon earlier this year rings what Lewis has called “alarm bells” about the possible serious conflict of interest.