Brady speaks to Assembly about 134 Newry job losses
Newry Assembly Member Mickey Brady has spoken in the Assembly about the proposal by HMRC to cut jobs in offices in Newry, Enniskillen and Derry.
“This will have the effect of making those offices unsustainable in the future. Newry staff have been asked to sign up to either a voluntary exit scheme by 18th December or a voluntary redundancy scheme by 30 April 2014. Workers can stay on until the closure date in 2015, but they will then face compulsory redundancy.
“There are no opportunities for redeployment as the workers are ‘imperial civil servants’, meaning that they are controlled by London and not by the Civil Service here in the North. Following discussions with their union reps, the staff have agreed to collectively refuse the voluntary exit scheme on 18th December,” Brady revealed.
“Both myself and my Sinn Féin colleagues Conor Murphy MP, Megan Fearon MLA and Councillor Charlie Casey have met staff and union reps on a number of occasions.
“It is also good to see that our MPs are presenting a united front, with Conor Murphy, Michelle Gildernew, Margaret Ritchie and Mark Durkan seeking a joint meeting with David Gauke, the Treasury Minister responsible.
“HMRC employs around 25,000 staff across Britain and the North, so it would seem reasonable that any need to cut back could be absorbed across the entire organisation. In addition the proposals have not been equality-proofed, since HMRC does not see the need to subject its decisions to the NI Act 1998, which requires equality impact assessments of such proposals.
“It is also worth noting that the job losses here will mainly affect women and that they are all in nationalist constituencies. Newry has suffered for many years, as have Derry and other areas in the North, from long-term unemployment, and there is no doubt that this will have a devastating effect on our local economy,” the SDLP MLA insisted.
“The HMRC staff union reps are firmly of the view that this is a clear shift away from normal protocols and processes, where, if an office is proposed for closure the examination of all options to avoid redundancies is usually the first step.
Brady added, “I hope that David Gauke will respond soon to the meeting request from our four MPsand they they have the opportunity to present the points I have raised to him.”
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