134 jobs under threat in Newry
SDLP MLAs Dominic Bradley and Karen Mc Kevitt, along with South Down SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie have lambasted the HMRC over plans to close their Newry office leading to the loss of 134 jobs locally.
Speaking to Newry Times after a meeting with union officials and local HMRC staff Bradley said, “The job cuts being proposed by HMRC will hit only Nationalist areas west of the Bann – Newry, Enniskillen, and Derry and those affected will predominately be nationalist and female.
“HMRC has engineered this move to avoid living up to their Section 75 (NI Act) duties to carry out an Equality Impact Assessment. It is totally unacceptable that HMRC should seek to ride roughshod over important legislation which seeks to ensure equality of treatment for all.
“HMRC is in danger of damaging its reputation as being a fair employer representing all communities in Northern Ireland through its current approach to the proposed office closures. Such behavior cannot be tolerated and will be fiercely opposed by all right thinking people here and beyond.”
Bradley’s party colleague Karen Mc Kevitt echoed his sentiments. “The Executive has hosted Investment Conferences in an effort to create new jobs and here we have a Whitehall department slashing long standing public service jobs in areas where they are sorely needed.
“We need jobs to underpin the peace process and a department which is seen to be ignoring equality legislation relating to religious and gender discrimination certainly does not help. We will fight tooth and nail to ensure that these jobs remain in Newry.”
SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie added, “HMRC are being dishonest in presenting their cuts agenda as a response to changes in business trends. Nothing could be further from the truth; there is plenty of experience and flexibility within the Newry office to handle non-specific location work and training.
“I have won the battle in the past to keep HMRC in Newry and I will continue to work to keep it there. I have already asked the Treasury Minister to meet my colleagues and I to discuss this issue and help ensure that the threat to these jobs is removed.”
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